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Government of Canada supports scientific research to deepen knowledge of H1N1 flu virus

This press release is available in French.

Winnipeg (October 14, 2009) The Government of Canada through the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) today announced support for five new research projects designed to help further understand and address the H1N1 flu virus.

"Canada is a global leader in H1N1 flu virus research, including research with our international partners on a safe and effective H1N1 vaccine," said Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq. "The scientific research we are funding today will help ensure that our knowledge, approach and planning remain among the best in the world."

The research announced today a total $2.4 million over 2 years - is being funded through CIHR's Catalyst Grant program, which provides short-term funding for targeted health research activities. The projects were selected through a rigorous, independent peer review process following a call for applications issued in July 2009.

"In terms of research into the H1N1 flu virus, Canada and the international community have come a long way in a short time. However, important questions remain," said Dr. Alain Beaudet, President of CIHR. "The funding announced today will help ensure that Canada continues to contribute to the body of H1N1 knowledge in areas such as immunity and health care response."

The five research projects announced today are:

  • Dr. Robert Fowler at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto will lead a team of researchers studying how to best manage health-care resources during a pandemic. His work will focus on determining who is most likely to get sick and how can institutions better prepare to help them.

  • Dr. Allison McGeer from Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto and her team will be studying the impact of H1N1 on pregnant women. This will include looking at the best ways to reduce infection and why only some pregnant women develop complications.

  • Dr. John Schrader from the University of British Columbia and his team will look into the rapid development of new drug therapies to treat patients with severe H1N1 infections.

  • Dr. Satyendra Sharma from the University of Manitoba and his team will seek to determine why some patients with H1N1 go on to develop Serious Respiratory Illness. The team will closely study how the immune system fights the virus, and how this response differs in persons who develop severe illness after being infected with H1N1. The team will also track the long-term outcome of people who have developed Severe Respiratory Illness.

  • Dr. Ccile Tremblay from the Centre hospitalier de l'Universit de Montral and her team will look at various immune responses to the vaccine with a view to develop immune-based preventative and therapeutic strategies for those at a higher risk of severe illness.

This research builds on the work being done by the Public Health Agency of Canada and the CIHR Influenza Research Network.


Contact: David Coulombe
Canadian Institutes of Health Research

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