Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced today new measures aimed at mobilizing the country’s scientists and researchers in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
The plan includes $1 billion for vaccine and treatment research, as well as the creation of a new COVID-19 immunity task force focused on serology testing, the blood-based tests used to identify if someone has already been exposed to the virus.
The task force will be led by David Naylor, who was chair of the committee that reviewed Canada’s response to SARS in 2003.
Scientists around the globe are scrambling to come up with tests, treatments to lessen the severity of the disease and, ultimately, a vaccine to protect against the coronavirus that has killed nearly 2,000 Canadians and almost 200,000 people worldwide.
Today’s measures bolster previous efforts by the Trudeau government to marshal Canada’s scientific community in the battle against COVID-19.
In mid-March, it committed $275 million for research, as part of the first emergency aid package.
That was supplemented later in the month with the creation of a new strategic innovation fund, which provided another $192 million to specific companies and research institutions working on the development of drugs and vaccines.
As well, the government has provided $52 million through national granting councils to almost 100 research teams across the country.