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WEIRD AND WONDERFUL RESEARCH: Funding to Research Coronavirus

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- Belle DeMont

It’s no surprise that the thoughts on many researchers’ minds have shifted with the spread of Coronavirus. Funding has been developed and reallocated to allow researchers across the world to work toward a potential vaccination, as well as seeking to understand the social and financial implications that will outlive the virus itself.

Researchers right here in Atlantic Canada are among those taking on this critical work, with Dalhousie researchers receiving $1.9 million to study the virus. The funding is part of a $27-million government investment in research focusing on Coronavirus. Immunologist Dr. David Kelvin; Professor of Pediatrics, Microbiology, and Immunology Dr. Scott Halperin; and medical sociologist Jeanna Parsons Leigh, are each leading a team to address the various impacts of the virus. Dr. Kelvin and his team are working to develop a device to measure the severity of cases in an effort to reduce the stress on emergency rooms. Dr. Halperin and his team are studying the impacts on public policy, examining restrictive measures and their potential to harm certain cohorts of the community. Professor Leigh and her team are focusing on the factors contributing to perceptions and understanding of the virus to address fear and misinformation.

It’s certainly a time to be proud of our researchers and all those who are working to understand and combat this virus while keeping our communities top of mind.

Drug shown to reduce stroke damage

Although Coronavirus has caused an immediate shift in many fields, other great research continued through the month of March. University of Prince Edward Island researchers Tracy Doucette, Catherine Ryan, and Andrew Tasker recently conducted early testing of a drug called nerinetide which has shown dramatic outcomes in reducing the damage caused by stroke. At the recent International Stroke Conference in Los Angeles the results of the trial were announced, showing nerintide’s ability to reduce brain tissue damage by more than 20 per cent.

Honorable mention

If you’re spending more time in the great outdoors, you’ll want to check out these cautions about tick populations in Nova Scotia. Mount Allison University professor, Vett Lloyd, is the director of the Lloyd Tick Lab at the University and says the spring season is a peak for tick activity in the province. Community members can contact Lloyd through her website to have photos submitted for analysis.

Jill Ellsworth is a writer and a life-long learner who lives in Dominion, N.S. Working as CBU’s digital communications specialist has opened her eyes to the groundbreaking research happening at Atlantic Canada’s universities, and now she’s here to share it with you each month. She can be reached at jillellsworth94@gmail.com.

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