gms | German Medical Science

International Conference on SARS - one year after the (first) outbreak

08. - 11.05.2004, Lübeck

SARS in Canada: Initial responses and long-term plans


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  • corresponding author presenting/speaker Bhagirath Singh - Canadian Institutes of Health Research and University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, CANADA

International Conference on SARS - one year after the (first) outbreak. Lübeck, 08.-11.05.2004. Düsseldorf, Köln: German Medical Science; 2004. Doc04sars1.02

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Veröffentlicht: 26. Mai 2004

© 2004 Singh.
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Although Canadian researchers were first to publish the genome sequence of the SARS coronavirus, a rapid research response to SARS required a national effort to engage the research and stakeholder community. The Canadian research effort coordinated through the Institute of Infection and Immunity of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research (MSFHR) has provided insight into how new strategic initiatives can be developed in a rapid manner. The research community in Canada mobilized rapidly to a request for proposals as eighteen research teams across Canada assembled and submitted applications within two weeks. Following rapid peer review, within ten days four proposals totaling $1.7 million were approved with the goals of developing new diagnostic tools, collecting and analyzing patient samples, investigating immune responses to SARS virus in patients, and examining the mode of disease transmission. An additional $2.6 million was funded by the MSFHR for a SARS Accelerated Vaccine Initiative (SAVI). This allowed for a rapid mobilization of research efforts focused on vaccine development. Proposals for social and public health issues, health care preparedness, and evaluation of the response to SARS were funded by CIHR for an additional $1.5 million through a Request for Applications (RFA).

To coordinate the overall research strategy in SARS, the Canadian SARS Research Consortium (CSRC) was launched in June 2003. The consortium used a focused and non-competitive approach to addressing internationally relevant SARS research issues. The CSRC has brought together funding partners to eliminate duplication and develop more cooperative interactions between the research groups. These efforts have been now been complemented by the commitment of the Canadian government to launch a new Canadian Public Health Agency (CPHA) which will address public health issues in the future. The tremendous impact of global cooperation as evident during the SARS crisis has motivated us to create a Canadian Rapid Research Response Team (C3RT) to ensure that Canada develops its own capacity and remains an integral part of the international effort in emerging infectious diseases.