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$2.4M funding supports five H1N1 research studies


Winnipeg, MB – Funding for five new research projects studying the H1N1 flu virus were announced today by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and the Alberta Heritage Foundation for Medical Research.

A total of $2.4 million over two years was announced today. The projects were selected through an 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, with individual funding amounts, 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. Total funding: $597,861.

– 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. This project is also being supported by the Alberta Heritage Foundation for Medical Research with $200,000 funding. Total combined funding is $595,825.

– 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. Total funding: $593,875.

– 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. Total funding: $300,000.

– Dr Cécile Tremblay from the Centre hospitalier de l’Université de Montréal 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. Total funding: $295,105.