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COVID-19 Research

BCCDC’s experienced researchers responded to the COVID-19 pandemic with an expansive range of targeted studies in order to support medical care, health policy and public education.

Our teams have been at the forefront of COVID-19 pandemic research and evidence-based response. Areas of research include: 

  • early diagnostics, 
  • innovative testing techniques, 
  • essential population health surveys and surveillance, 
  • vaccine effectiveness findings, 
  • COVID-19 seroprevalence, and more.

Selected studies

Principal Investigators: Dr. Muhammad Morshed, Dr. Inna Sekirov, Dr. Sofia Bartlett

Funders: Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research COVID-19 Research Response Fund | $150,000

ASSESS DBS not only allowed us to better understand the impact of COVID-19 in under-served and hardly reached populations, such as people who experience incarceration, but acted as a catalyst to the ability of the Provincial Laboratory to use dried blood spots as a serology sample type. This will have lasting impacts on our ability to offer comprehensive and accessible testing to multiple remote and disenfranchised populations, improving public health equity in BC.

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Principal Investigator: Dr. Amanda Slaunwhite

Funders: Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHIR), Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research | $852,400

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Principal Investigator: Dr. Agatha Jassem

Funders: Genome BC, Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research, BCCDC Foundation Rapid SARS-CoV-2 Vaccine Research Initiative | $200,000

SMILES provided reliable assessments based on modelling and genomic sequencing data of how vaccination status can impact SARS-CoV-2 infectivity as well lead to breakthrough infection. 

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Principal Investigators: BCCDC, Dr. David Patrick

Partners: Michael Smith Health Research BC, Fraser Health, UBC Faculty of Medicine, Reach BC, Vancouver Coastal Health, Genome British Columbia

The COVID-19 Consent to Contact Registry Database (CCRD) contributes to improving care for COVID-19 patients in British Columbia by providing a single platform through which researchers can contact COVID-19 survivors for future COVID-19 studies.
Principal Investigator: Dr. Mel Krajden

Funder: Canadian Foundation for Innovation | $630,000

This study allows researchers to apply viral genomics to track viral transmission in real time in order to understand how the virus enters the community and causes outbreaks. 

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Principal Investigator: Dr. Naveed Janjua

Funder: Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research COVID-19 Research Response fund | $150,000

This study monitored contact patterns, which informed changes in contact behaviours over time. The study also has contributed to modelling efforts in monitoring COVID-19 transmission and outcomes, which has informed public health response.

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Principal Investigator: Dr. Agatha Jassem

Funder: PHACA | $384,529

This study provided real-world evidence on COVID vaccine immunogenicity in older, community dwelling adults relative to mixed vaccine doses and the interval between the first and second dose.

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Principal Investigator: Dr. Inna Sekirov

Funders: Genome BC rapid response funding for COVID-19 Research and Innovation Projects, BCCDC | $40,000

PACEiiR study has allowed us to better understand the contribution of upper respiratory tract ACE2 receptor to the progression of SARS-CoV-2 infection, making a significant contribution to the overall body of knowledge on this pathogen.

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Principal Investigators: Dr. Natalie Prystajecky, Dr. Mel Krajden, Dr Richard Harrigan 

Funders: Genome BC strategic fund | $150,000; Canadian COVID-19 Rapid Response Funding Opportunity | $1,000,000

This work laid the foundation for establishing whole genome sequencing, one of the critical laboratory tools in the response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Sequencing was proven to generate data to inform understanding of the transmission of the virus, tracking variants of concern and understanding vaccine breakthrough.

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Principal Investigator: Dr. Hind Sbihi

Funder: Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) | $451,188

This research program has provided evidence on how clinical severity of COVID-19 differs based on SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern (VOC) for different socio-economic groups, which informed population-level public health response to circulating variant strains.

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Partnerships and acknowledgements

The BCCDC harnessed its collaborative relationships with an integrated network of academic, provincial and national partners in order to address the challenges of the pandemic. This continuing work has been made possible thanks to considerable support from the Provincial Health Services Authority, Provincial Health Officer, Ministry of Health and health authority partners.

SOURCE: COVID-19 Research ( )
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