O'Brien Institute COVID-19 pandemic response

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19), according to the World Health Organization, is an infectious disease caused by a new coronavirus strain named SARS-CoV-2, for which there is currently no treatment or vaccination.

The COVID-19 outbreak was classified as a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO), on March 11 2020.

Common symptoms of COVID-19, according to the WHO, include fever, tiredness, dry cough, while other symptoms may include: shortness of breath, aches and pains, sore throat, and very few people will report diarrhoea, nausea or a runny nose.

The best ways to prevent infection or the spread of COVID-19 are spelled out here by the WHO.

Trusted sources of COVID-19 information include:

World Health Organization (WHO)

Alberta Health Services (AHS)

Public Health Agency of Canada

Featured COVID-19 research projects

Anxiety towards COVID-19

Gavin McCormack, Patricia Doyle Baker, J.A. Perterson

Researchers surveyed Calgarians about COVID-19. 88.5 per cent of participants perceive the COVID-19 situation to be an extremely or very serious problem, and the majority reported being somewhat or extremely anxious about the situation. 

More details.  

Targeted serology testing in Alberta

Alberta is investing $10 million into targeted serology testing that will help track the spread of COVID-19 across the province.

Funding will be divided between four voluntary public health studies, including one pediatric led by Dr. Jim Kellner, that will measure COVID-19 antibody prevalence among groups of Calgary and Edmonton children until 2022. 

More details

Managing PPE in health care settings

Dr. Jeanna Parsons Leigh, PhD

Researchers analyze the use of N95 masks compared with medical masks in preventing viral respiratory infections and suggest ways to manage the limited supply of N95 masks and other PPE. They hope the article will help organizations with decision-making around how to protect health care workers and patients while managing often scarce resources.

More details

Virtual COVID-19 events, meetings and webinars

Virtual Reverse Trade Show: Rapid Solutions for COVID-19 in Continuing Care

COVID-19 has hit continuing care facilities hard. A (virtual) Reverse Trade Show on July 7 identified rapid technical solutions to help prepare continuing care for the next wave and future outbreaks.

Watch here.




Caring for vulnerable populations in a time of crisis

Watch the Caring for Vulnerable populations in a time of crisis webinar series, presented by Street CCRED and Westside Harm Reduction.  

Watch here



Idea Exchange webinar: Public Health Lessons of COVID-19

Public health systems are adapting to the changing landscape of COVID-19 through research, treatment, planning and response. Join President McCauley and a panel of experts for a discussion on the public health lessons we have learned so far.

Watch here.



WATCH: Anatomy of a Pandemic Digital Forums

O'Brien Institute members are exploring how COVID-19 is spreading in Alberta and comparing provincial data to data from elsewhere in the world. On March 27 they made the first public presentation of their research findings, which are being used to inform Calgary's response to the pandemic. 

Watch the recording

This public digital forum, which took place on April 20, 2020, explored the current status of COVID-19 with respect to its biology, its transmissibility, and the public health measures needed to flatten the curve. It also touched on the future, long-term consequences of this global pandemic on public health and health systems. 

Watch the recording

This digital forum that took place on April 30 provides a first-hand account of how the health care system is responding to the COVID-19 pandemic from physicians on the front-lines.

Watch the recording

Drs. Katrina Milaney, PhD, and Ronald D. Kneebone, PhD, discuss how the COVID-19 pandemic is impacting vulnerable populations in Calgary during a May 6 digital forum. 

Watch the recording

The COVID-19 pandemic has policy implications that will affect Canadians well into the future. Learn about changes to health care policy, and how this crisis is impacting youth with disabilities, at a digital forum on May 20. Featuring Drs. Jennifer Zwicker and Myles Leslie.

Watch the recording

Drs. Jim Kellner, MD and Deinera Exner-Cortens, PhD, discuss how the COVID-19 pandemic is impacting children's health and social wellbeing during a May 28 digital forum.

Watch the recording

At this Anatomy of a Pandemic digital forum on June 11, Drs. Cheryl Peters, PhD, Christen Rachul, PhD, and Gordon Pennycook, PhD, discuss the phenomena of hoaxes, misinformation and fake news circulating on the Internet, and what it means for the pandemic response.

Watch the recording

COVID-19 data sources

Canadian data

Provincial breakdown of COVID-19 cases

Latest COVID-19 research news

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has claimed thousands of lives in every continent but Antarctica, stalled the world’s economy and created a global sense of fear, more than a dozen O’Brien Institute researchers are mobilizing their scientific expertise, teams and efforts, and have joined international efforts to tackle this unprecedented global emergency. They’re refocusing their work to conduct critical research that will inform further interventions, better equip society for the social challenges compounding the effects of this pandemic, and helping to better understand the nature and extent of this disease.

Unmasking the dangers of false COVID-19 rhetoric.

Read more

Alberta doctors say inconsistent public health messaging may be to blame for uptick in COVID-19 cases.

Read more

How deadly is COVID-19 for children? Here's what we know.

Read more

Funding and research resources

 *IMPORTANT: Given the rapidly approaching deadlines ALL interested UCalgary applicants are asked to contact Clint Westgard. The Grant Development Office will work with applicants to ensure they complete all necessary tasks and meet both the CIHR deadlines and internal deadlines.

CIHR pre-announcement: Strengthening Pandemic Preparedness in Long-Term Care
Information webinar

Call for Expressions of Interest (EOIs) on projects related to COVID-19 hot spots
RSO deadline for EOI: Noon, Sept 17
More info

2020 Fast Grants from Emergent Ventures
Researchers can apply for $10k to $500k fast grants for COVID-19 related projects 
More info

Global Research Collaboration for Infectious Disease Preparedness Funding opportunities 
More info

Elrha Research to Support COVID-19 Response in Humanitarian Settings (Urgent Funding Call)
More info 

Mercatus Center Emergent Ventures Fund (COVID-19 Fast Track)
More info

O’Brien Institute catalyst funding
More info

Alberta COVID-19 Rapid Response Program 
More info

COVID-19 Challenges Procurement Program: NRC Industrial Research Assistance Program and Innovative Solutions Canada
More info

The World Health Organization (WHO) proposal for a Global Allocation Framework for COVID-19 products: Global solidarity requires addressing the structural drivers of inequities
Read the response to Invitation for Feedback here. 

Call for papers related to the COVID-19 pandemic
The Canadian Journal of Public Health (CJPH) is currently soliciting original articles, reviews and correspondence related to the public health response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
More info

iCare Study (survey 2)
Take the International assessment of COVID-19 related attitudes, concerns, responses and impacts in relation to public health policies survey here.

Health Quality Council of Alberta (HQCA) COVID-19 Experiences and Impact Survey
Take the survey here.

Government of Canada invests $27M in coronavirus research
More info

Government of Canada funds 49 additional COVID-19 research project details
More info

Canadian 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Rapid Research Funding Opportunity Results
More info

Other funding updates from CIHR heresummary FAQ sheet derived from discussions at a recent CIHR University Delegates meeting here

NSERC has announced that all active Discovery Grants can elect to receive a one-year extension with funds at their current funding level. 
More info

COVID-19 Research Collaboration: Resources for UCalgary researchers and research staff to connect
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Fostering a Community of Practice of Public Health researchers during the COVID-10 pandemic (networking sessions)
More info

COVID-19 Response: Guidance for UCalgary Researchers
More info

Centre for Health Informatics (CHI): Advancing Health Informatics Research and Training for Precision Health
More info

Updates of CIHR programs, including information on decisions regarding the cancellation of the Spring 2020 Project Grant competition and other announcements 
More info

Read the FAQ sheet that was derived from discussions at a recent CIHR University Delegates meeting here

CanCOVID: An expert community of Canadian COVID-19 researchers, clinical collaborators, and healthcare stakeholders from across the country
More info

University of Calgary COVID-19 slack workspace for researchers here, sign-up first here
Featuring an O'Brien Institute slack channel: #oiph_public_health_research

The Health and Behavioural Impacts of COVID-19 on Youth: Results from the Canadian Perspectives Survey Series 1 - View the Stats Can survey results here