Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the federal government is spending an additional $1.1 billion for a national medical and research strategy to address COVID-19. During his remarks on Thursday, Trudeau said that with the effectiveness of public health measures now in place and with Canada continuing on the right track, “we need to be thinking not just about the next weeks, but about the next months,” and that will require progress on interim medical interventions to control the spread of the virus in absence of a vaccine.
The PM’s announcement includes:
$115 million more for research into vaccines and treatments;
$662 million for research projects on how brain and airway cells are affected, as well as for clinical trials, including one trial that will “evaluate safety of a potential cell therapy to reduce the impacts and severity of acute respiratory distress associated with COVID-19”; and
$350 million for national testing, modelling, data-monitoring and tracking of COVID-19 in Canada.
As well, the federal government is creating a “COVID-19 immunity task force,” which Trudeau says will include a series of Canada’s top doctors and will focus on blood testing to track and understand immunity to this novel coronavirus. Among the doctors that will lead this group are Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam and Chief Science Advisor Dr. Mona Nemer.
“They will be looking at key questions like how many people beyond those we’ve already tested have had COVID-19, whether you are immune once you’ve had it, and if so, how long that lasts,” Trudeau said.