The Ontario government is quickly moving forward with innovative research to prevent, detect and treat COVID-19. These projects, part of the government’s $20 million Ontario COVID-19 Rapid Research Fund, focus on areas of research such as vaccine development, diagnostics, drug trials and development, and social sciences. Additionally, Ontario is leading the country with 22 clinical trials investigating COVID-19 vaccines and treatments.
Yesterday’s announcement was made by Premier Doug Ford, Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, and Ross Romano, Minister of Colleges and Universities.
The Premier said that, “Ontario is leading the nation in the battle to defeat this deadly virus. We have some of the most incredible researchers and innovators anywhere in the world right here in our province.” He added that there is no reason why a new rapid testing method, vaccine or treatment can’t be found in Ontario.
Currently, 15 projects that were submitted in response to a recent call for proposals for the Ontario COVID-19 Rapid Research Fund are being funded. Announced a month ago, the $20 million fund was created as an immediate response to engaging the research community on ways to fight COVID-19. The Province said that where relevant, a portion of the funds will be used to cover costs associated with licensing and commercialization, including patenting, of the valuable intellectual property generated by successful projects to ensure any economic outcomes from these proposals benefit Ontario’s economy, workers and researchers.
“Researchers in Ontario represent some of the best and brightest in the country and we are tapping into their expertise to find Ontario-based solutions to treat the infection and stop the spread of the virus,” said Minister Romano.
Many of Ontario’s research hospitals, universities, colleges and research institutes are leading Canada with their ground-breaking COVID-19 research projects. Eleven of the 22 clinical trials that are being led by these institutions have already secured the necessary approvals by Health Canada to advance potential vaccines and therapeutics. Ontario also has the largest share of the total 25 clinical trials approved by Health Canada in the country.
“Research will not only play an important role in the fight against COVID-19, but it will also drive innovation and our economic recovery as we restart the province,” said Vic Fedeli, Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade. “This $20 million investment in our research sector will mean more made-in-Ontario solutions as we continue to fight this virus and move into the next phase of our recovery.”
The 15 proposals are the first to receive funding from the Ontario COVID-19 Rapid Research Fund, with additional projects expected to be announced in the coming weeks. Projects were evaluated by a peer review committee.