UBC researcher Dr. Manish Sadarangani is among five Canadian scientists receiving funding for pandemic preparedness projects as part of a new partnership between the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI).
The Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, Canada’s Minister of Health, announced the partnership during National Immunization Awareness Week. The initiative will provide $2.7 million in grant funding to five Canadian researchers to pursue projects that will help prepare for future epidemic and pandemic threats.
Dr. Manish Sadarangani, an associate professor of pediatrics at UBC and investigator and director of the Vaccine Evaluation Center (VEC) at BC Children’s Hospital Research Institute, was one of the recipients of the CIHR-CEPI Leadership Award for Excellence in Vaccine Research for Infectious Diseases of Epidemic Potential.
Dr. Sadarangani’s project will focus on how vaccines are designed and how this could be improved to give more robust immune responses.
“We are comparing antibody responses after different COVID-19 vaccines and after SARS-CoV-2 infection in adults and children from existing Canadian cohorts,” says Dr. Sadarangani. “This will provide insights on the mechanisms of vaccine protection and how we might improve responses to vaccines in general by modifying their design.”
Other recipients include Dr. Hélène Decaluwe, Centre hospitalier universitaire Sainte-Justine; Dr. Alyson Ann Kelvin, VIDO (Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization), University of Saskatchewan; Dr. David Safronetz, University of Manitoba; and Dr. Karina Top, Dalhousie University.
The research projects range from studying immune responses to enhance vaccine development, to using universal vaccine approaches to protect against future coronaviruses.
This is the first time CIHR has partnered with an international coalition — representing the public, private, philanthropic, and civil society sectors — to connect Canadian scientists with global experts, provide opportunities for cutting-edge skill building and sharing, and promote innovation to help prevent future epidemics and pandemics. It is also the first time CEPI has partnered with a funding organization to leverage Canadian expertise in the vaccine sciences to accelerate the development of CEPI’s vaccine candidates and rapid-response technologies.
“This project will provide insights on the mechanisms of vaccine protection and how we might improve responses to vaccines in general by modifying their design.”
Dr. Manish Sadarangani
CEPI is a world leader in supporting research into vaccine development and enabling equitable access to vaccines. It’s known for co-leading the COVAX program that is supplying developing nations with COVID-19 vaccines.
“The COVID-19 pandemic truly reached every part of the world,” says Dr. Sadarangani. “To match it, we need to bring researchers from around the world together to develop the best possible tools to reduce the severity of this disease and prepare for future pandemics to come. This partnership between CIHR and CEPI enables Canadian vaccine researchers to join experts from across the globe in sharing our knowledge and preparing for the future.”
Canadian and international experiences with epidemics, including the COVID-19 pandemic, underscore the importance of ensuring Canadian researchers remain leaders in vaccine development and continue to build expertise in epidemic preparedness.
“Responding to global health threats requires international collaboration and strong relationships between partners,” said the Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos. “Canada’s new partnership with CEPI will enable Canadian vaccine researchers to work with experts in vaccine research from around the world to help strengthen our preparedness for future epidemics and pandemics. Congratulations to the recipients and thank you for your commitment to saving lives through vaccines.”