Retired provincial health officer Dr. Perry Kendall, seen here getting his seasonal flu shot in November 2015, has returned to work on an advisory committee for COVID-19 research in B.C. (B.C. government)

Retired provincial health officer Dr. Perry Kendall, seen here getting his seasonal flu shot in November 2015, has returned to work on an advisory committee for COVID-19 research in B.C. (B.C. government)

B.C. begins taking submissions for $2M COVID-19 research fund

Rural health, impact of shifting hospital resources among priorities

The B.C. government opened applications April 6 for its first round of research funding to help find answers to the spread and control of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Health Minister Adrian Dix established a dedicated research fund at the request of Dr. Bonnie Henry, the provincial health officer tasked with managing the novel coronavirus spread in the population. Priorities include impacts on rural populations and “rapid evaluation of public health countermeasures” that have reduced economic activity to essential services and emptied 40 per cent of B.C.’s acute care beds to make room for potential serious illness cases.

Henry said the fund of “at least $2 million” is administered by the Micheal Smith Foundation for Health Research, which has been working with the B.C. Centre for Disease Control on the outbreak since early January. Projects already underway include tracking infection spread to add to B.C.’s COVID-19 modelling and developing a test to see who has been exposed and who may be immune in the B.C. population.

RELATED: Canadian experts endorse use of non-medical masks

RELATED: Thousands apply for Canada’s emergency benefit

Measuring the effectiveness of business controls and travel restrictions is a high priority.

“How well are we doing with the things that we have put in place like travel restrictions, like the cancelling of in-classroom teaching in schools, like the distancing measures that we have been puting in place across society and understanding which of these measures works in which scenarios, and how well they work,” Henry said.

Henry’s predecessor as provincial health officer, Dr. Perry Kendall, has also returned from retirement to join an advisory committee to guide the new research. The advisory group is led by Dr. David Patrick, a physician epidemiologist who works at the B.C. Centre for Disease Control and at UBC.

The four projects already funded by the Michael Smith Foundation also include developing a vaccine for COVID-19 in conjunction with federal and international researchers, and understanding the impact of what the World Health Organization has described as an “infodemic” of disinformation about the origin and nature of the virus that emerged from Wuhan, China late in 2019.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC legislatureCoronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A map released by the BCCDC on Jan. 15 shows the number of new COVID-19 cases reported for each local health area between Jan. 3 and 9. (BCCDC Image)
Salmon Arm and Vernon see increase in new COVID cases, curve flattening elsewhere

The rate of new cases is levelling off in Kelowna, Penticton and Revelstoke.

Interior Health update. File photo.
86 new COVID-19 cases, two more deaths in Interior Health

The new deaths are from Heritage Square, a long-term care facility in Vernon

Phase 4 of the Kicking Horse Canyon Project is on track, despite COVID-19 and the recent provincial election. (Government of BC photo)
Kicking Horse Canyon Phase 4 closures announced

The first major closures are expected to occur starting on April 12 until May 14

A woman wearing a protective face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 walks past a mural in Victoria, B.C., on Monday, Dec. 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marissa Tiel
115 new COVID-19 cases, no new deaths in Interior Health

There are now a total of 4,970 cases in the region

One of the renovated VWs that has served as the inspiration for Wood's idea for a VW village to redefine camping. (Jeremiah Woods photo)
Golden entrpreneau walks away with a deal from Dragon’s Den

Camping in the Woods combines a love of the outdoors and for classic VW vehicles

Keith the curious kitten is seen on Nov. 4, 2020 at the Chilliwack SPCA. Friday, Jan. 22, 2021 is Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Jan. 17 to 23

Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day, Pie Day and International Sweatpants Day are all coming up this week

Lake Country native Evan-Riley Brown is in the cast for the new film Journey To Royal: A WW II Rescue Mission to be released on video on demand and streaming services on Feb. 2. (Contributed)
Okanagan actor lands role in WW II movie

Evan-Riley Brown, from Lake Country, cast in production labelled as hybrid of a feature film and documentary called Journey To Royal: a WW II Rescue Mission.

JaHyung Lee, “Canada’s oldest senior” at 110 years old, received his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. He lives at Amenida Seniors Community in Newton. (Submitted photo: Amenida Seniors Community)
More than 20 days have passed since the last case of COVID-19 was confirmed at Lakeside Manor. (File photo)
Salmon Arm retirement facility reopens social areas after COVID-19

More than 20 days have passed since last confirmed case at Lakeside Manor

A unique-looking deer has been visiting a Nanoose Bay property with its mother. (Frieda Van der Ree photo)
A deer with 3 ears? Unique animal routinely visits B.C. property

Experts say interesting look may be result of an injury rather than an odd birth defect

Sooke’s Jim Bottomley is among a handful of futurists based in Canada. “I want to help people understand the future of humanity.” (Aaron Guillen - Sooke News Mirror)
No crystal ball: B.C. man reveals how he makes his living predicting the future

63-year-old has worked analytical magic for politicians, car brands, and cosmetic companies

Terry David Mulligan. (Submitted photo)
Podcast: Interview with longtime actor/broadcaster and B.C. resident Terry David Mulligan

Podcast: Talk includes TDM’s RCMP career, radio, TV, wine, Janis Joplin and much more

Seasonal influenza vaccine is administered starting each fall in B.C. and around the world. (Langley Advance Times)
After 30,000 tests, influenza virtually nowhere to be found in B.C.

COVID-19 precautions have eliminated seasonal infection

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau listens to a question during a news conference outside Rideau cottage in Ottawa, Friday, January 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau says Canada’s COVID vaccine plan on track despite Pfizer cutting back deliveries

Canadian officials say country will still likely receive four million doses by the end of March

Most Read