Congratulations to VCHRI COVID-19 Research Fund recipients, doing their part to fight the pandemic.
The Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute, along with the VGH & UBC Hospital Foundation, is providing funding for innovative research projects aimed at addressing the evolving health care needs and challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic. This funding will help accelerate research efforts to proactively respond to the virus in BC through prevention, detection, treatment and management.
The COVID-19 Research Fund recipients are:
- Dr. Chris Carlsten, professor and head of the UBC Division of Respiratory Medicine and scientific director of the Legacy for Airway Health
- Dr. Daniel Kim, emergency physician at VGH and clinical assistant professor with the UBC Department of Emergency Medicine
- Dr. James Lan, transplant nephrologist at VGH and assistant professor with the UBC Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine
- Dr. Agnes Lee, director of the Hematology Research Program at VCHRI, medical director of the Thrombosis Program at VCH and professor with the UBC Department of Medicine
- Dr. Allison Mah, clinical assistant professor with the UBC Department of Medicine
- Dr. Renelle Myers, thoracic interventional respirologist at VGH and clinical assistant professor with the UBC Department of Medicine
- Dr. Jacqueline Saw, program director of the Interventional Cardiology Fellowship Program at VGH and clinical professor with the UBC Faculty of Medicine
- Dr. Andrew Shih, hematopathologist at VGH, medical director and regional medical leader of Transfusion Medicine at VCH and clinical assistant professor in the UBC Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine
- Dr. Isabella Tai, gastroenterologist at VGH and UBC Hospital and assistant professor with the UBC Department of Medicine
- Dr. Teresa Tsang, director of Echo Lab at VGH and UBC Hospital and professor with the UBC Department of Medicine
Transplantation is a life-saving therapy for patients experiencing organ failure. At present there are over 800 patients on the waitlist for an organ in BC, with an additional 5,200 solid organ transplant recipients being monitored by care providers across the province.
These patients represent a vulnerable population who may be particularly susceptible to COVID-19 due to their immunosuppressed state and burden of other health conditions. It is also unknown whether transplant patients can mount an appropriate immune response and develop protective immunity to COVID-19 in the same way as the general population.
This research project seeks to learn more about the risk, presentation and outcomes of COVID-19 in transplant patients. Using cutting-edge immune assessment technologies, Dr. Lan will study the development and evolution of immune responses in transplant patients with COVID-19. This novel approach could provide new insights into the immunity of the virus and have a major impact on the diagnosis, monitoring and treatment of COVID-19.
This research project will involve testing a dual combination therapy comprised of an ACE2 receptor blocker and a TMPRSS2 inhibitor to determine their potential in reducing the symptoms many COVID-19 positive patients experience.
Dr. Tai hypothesizes that the combination therapy will have better efficacy than a single therapy in reducing the severity of COVID-19 infections and preventing the virus from entering and infecting cells. This could lead to better, faster recovery rates and fewer hospital and Intensive Care Unit admissions related to COVID-19.
The COVID-19 Research Fund awards are made possible with the generous support of the VGH & UBC Hospital Foundation and the Transplant Research Foundation of BC in partnership with VCHRI.