Ottawa researchers lead $9-million COVID Variant Rapid-Response Network

April 28, 2021

Researchers at The Ottawa Hospital are playing an important role in a University of Ottawa-led project which has been awarded $9 million by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research to create a national network for better researching and responding to the global threat of COVID-19 variants. 

The Coronavirus Variants Rapid Response Network or CoVaRR-Net, will enable the real-time assessment of both the immune response to the virus variants and whether existing vaccines generate protective immunity to these variants. The findings will provide decision makers with guidance regarding drug therapy, vaccine effectiveness, and other public health strategies. 

The network, led by Dr. Marc-André Langlois (uOttawa), is comprised of eight core pillars of activity chaired by discipline experts from institutions across the country. Dr. Jeremy Grimshaw is the lead of the Knowledge Mobilization pillar (aided by deputies Drs. Melissa Brouwers and Justin Presseau), which will undertake knowledge translation activities to ensure Canadians are informed in a timely fashion about variants of concern, their implications and recommendations for action. 

Dr. Doug Manuel is a deputy for the Public Health, Health Systems and Social Policy Impact pillar, which will supply public health agencies with the latest research on variants and bring their needs to the network. A central feature of the network is its sharing of resources.  

Dr. Angela Crawley is Director of the Biobank and will coordinate the collection, storage and rapid distribution of biological specimens, including variants of concern, aligning a national biobank and relevant biobanks across the country. Dr. Amy Hsu is Director of the project’s data platform for storage, sharing and analytics, and Dr. Raphael Saginur is Director of Bioethics. See uOttawa press release for more.

CIHR is also providing supplementary funding for 90 ongoing COVID-19 projects, including $50,000 each for projects led by Dr. Darine El-Chaâr, Dr. Duncan Stewart and Dr. John Bell.

Core Resources at The Ottawa Hospital: Ottawa Methods Centre

The Ottawa Hospital is a leading academic health, research and learning hospital proudly affiliated with the University of Ottawa and supported by The Ottawa Hospital Foundation.

Media Contact 
Amelia Buchanan
Senior Communication Specialist
Ottawa Hospital Research Institute


Disease and research area tags: COVID-19, Infectious disease, Public health