Research Nova Scotia commits $600K in match funding to coronavirus research at Dal

March 18, 2020 – For immediate release.

(Halifax, NS) To further contribute to the Government of Canada and the Province of Nova Scotia’s efforts to address the COVID-19 outbreak, Research Nova Scotia (RNS) will be contributing $600,000 in rapid response match funding from its Research Opportunities Fund to Dr. David Kelvin of Dalhousie University. Dr. Kelvin, along with his international network of research colleagues, are looking for a way to quickly identify the severity of the virus in those who test positive for COVID-19. RNS is joining the Canadian Institutes of Health Research’s COVID-19 funding initiative, which has committed $1 million to the project, and the Dalhousie Medical Research Foundation (DMRF) which made a recent gift of $250,000 to support the project.

The Government of Canada recently announced an investment of $27M to fund coronavirus research. These funds are being distributed to 47 research teams across Canada and will help inform clinical and public health responses, develop and evaluate diagnostic tools and vaccines, as well as create strategies to tackle misinformation, stigma, and fear.

“Due to the extraordinary nature of the issue, the significant health risks to Nova Scotians, and the considerable economic consequences already being felt here and around the world, we need to be nimble and act decisively to support urgent frontline research” says Stefan Leslie, CEO of Research Nova Scotia. “Now more than ever, it’s important we unite around a common mission.”

The goal of Dr. Kelvin’s research is to help healthcare professionals better determine which patients have the highest chances of developing a severe illness through the identification of biomarkers. If successful, this research would help give high-risk patients priority for hospitalizations and/or admission to intensive care units.

“Ultimately, what we want to do is have a point-of-care device that in a very short period of time can designate which patients should go to hospital,” says Dr. Kelvin. “This could alleviate strain on our healthcare system.”

Dalhousie Medical Research Foundation’s generous $250,000 contribution to Dr. Kelvin’s project is further enabling his team of researchers to scale up their work quickly.

“This is a team effort and we have a significant role to play in ensuring our investigators have the resources they need to expand their current COVID-19 research activities,” says Joanne Bath, CEO, Dalhousie Medical Research Foundation. “Their expertise and skills are exceptional, and their commitment, unwavering. We are standing by their efforts.”

The work will be conducted through the Canadian COVID-19 Research Network, which also includes researchers from China, Vietnam, Spain, Italy, Morocco, Sudan, Egypt, Ethiopia, Côte d’Ivoire, Mozambique and the United States.

“As we all know, this outbreak continues to evolve daily and Dr. Kelvin’s research could have a direct impact on patient outcomes, Leslie says. “Although these funds will have a positive impact on current research capacity, there is still a lot of work that needs to be done to ensure this world-class research can continue to thrive. “We’re hoping this support from Research Nova Scotia will encourage other people, provinces, and countries to also contribute to this urgent research”.

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