Innovation Saskatchewan is responsible for implementing the province’s innovation priorities and helping grow Saskatchewan’s tech sector. Effective April 2022, this includes operation of the Innovation Place technology parks in Saskatoon and Regina.

Genome Prairie and SHRF Fund U of R’s Genome Capture Project

Genome Prairie and the Saskatchewan Health Research Foundation (SHRF) have partnered to fund the COVID-19 Rapid Regional Response (COV3R) project. The COV3R project aims to address the issue of detecting co-infections in humans while also providing new tools for public health.

“Co-infection is a problem because any time your body has to fight multiple infectious diseases, it can compromise the ability of your immune system to protect you,” said Dr. Andrew Cameron, a microbial geneticist at the University of Regina. The COV3R team comprises researchers from institutions across the Prairie provinces, including Cadham Provincial Laboratory in Manitoba, the Institute for Microbial Systems and Society at the University of Regina, the British Columbia Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) and the Roy Romanow Provincial Laboratory (RRPL) in Regina.

Genome Prairie provided $240,000 in funding and SHRF provided $50,000 with BCCDC, RRPL and the Cadham Provincial Laboratory providing in-kind support. “The impact of this work will not only benefit public health during the current pandemic, but it will demonstrate what is possible when we nurture and support home-grown talent and collaboration to prepare for potential health crises in the future,” said SHRF CEO Patrick Odnokon.

The COV3R project will help fill a gap in knowledge about COVID-19 by developing testing based on genome capture. Current tests for COVID-19 are often based on polymerase chain reaction (PCR), which is a fast and efficient technology for detecting known pathogens, however, unable to detect new or unknown pathogens like COVID-19. This genome capturing technology will help to diagnose infectious diseases and complement the ongoing genetic sequencing of the coronavirus done as part of Genome Canada’s Canadian COVID-19 Genomics Network (CanCOGeN) initiative. This project will also help address problems with testing capacity due to the coronavirus pandemic.

For more information on the COV3R project funded by Genome Prairie and SHRF, please read the press release.

SHRF is a provincial funding agency that funds, supports and promotes the impact of health research that matters to Saskatchewan and is a tenant at Innovation Place in Saskatoon.

Genome Prairie is a non-profit organization that supports advanced research in genomics and related biosciences and is a tenant at Innovation Place in Saskatoon.

RRPL works to identify, respond to and prevent illness and disease in the province and is a tenant at Innovation Place in Regina. Read their Meet the Tenants profile.

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- July 29, 2020