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Pandemic research receives $1.6M funding boost
Date:7/29/2008

HAMILTON, July 29, 2008 Densely populated cities and increased air travel can be factors which create and spread pandemic disease. But a McMaster University researcher is working with isolated Hutterite communities to understand the transmission of pandemic diseases like influenza.

Dr. Mark Loeb and his research team have received $1.6 million in funding to carry out the research from the Rx&D Health Research Foundation (HRF), the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA).

Dr. Loeb will work with Hutterite communities in western Canada to examine the transmission of flu viruses from person to person and from pigs to humans. Dr. Loeb is an internationally-recognized expert in infectious disease epidemiology, and has studied SARS (as founding director of the Canadian SARS Research Network), West Nile Virus, and antibiotic use and resistance. His team's new research will detect influenza viruses in humans and pigs in Hutterite communities, and use computer modelling to analyze the transmission of the virus.

"Hutterite communities are uniquely well-suited to this sort of research, because they are active swine farmers and because they live in isolation from mainstream society," says Loeb. "We hope to use this research grant to learn important lessons about how disease spreads and how to prevent it."

"Our foundation supports research in areas that are important to Canada's health research community and to Canadian society as a whole." said Dr. Yves Morin, President of the Health Research Foundation. "Our goal is to augment Canada's position as a world-class centre for health research and a leader in developing new ways to prevent, treat and cure disease."

"The SARS outbreak taught us that there are no national boundaries when it comes to infectious diseases," said Dr. Bhagirath Singh, Scientific Director of the CIHR Institute of Infection and Immunity. "Through thi
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Contact: Veronica McGuire
vmcguir@mcmaster.ca
90-552-591-402-2169
McMaster University
Source:Eurekalert

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