Ten projects, ten ways, one goal: fighting COVID-19 around the world

June 25, 2020

IDRC is pleased to announce a new set of research projects aimed at addressing the health and social challenges created and exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Darius Rackus, a member of Keith Pardee’s lab at the University of Toronto, assembling portable diagnostic equipment that was used to test for Zika and other diseases in South America.
Pardee Lab, University of Toronto
Darius Rackus, a member of Keith Pardee’s lab at the University of Toronto, assembling portable diagnostic equipment that was used to test for Zika and other diseases in South America. This lab-in-a-box received funding from the COVID-19 Rapid Research Funding Opportunity to expand its testing abilities to include COVID-19 for use in low- and middle-income countries, as well as rural and remote communities in Canada.

Can certain types of blood pressure medication reduce the danger in high risk COVID-19 patients? How can strategies to control malaria be tailored to the context of the pandemic? What are the specific challenges for diverse LGBTQI2+ populations? And how does protecting health workers vary from one part of the world to another?

These are just some of the questions that ten new IDRC-funded research projects aim to answer as part of the Centre’s ongoing contribution to Canada’s response to COVID-19. All projects will see collaboration between Canadian and international researchers from Thailand to Kenya to Peru.

"COVID-19 knows no boundaries, and our responses to the pandemic must reflect that reality,” says the Honourable Karina Gould, Canada’s Minister of International Development. “By building on IDRC’s productive relationships with researchers in the Global South, Canadian researchers have the opportunity to develop long-lasting solutions that are fit-for-purpose in the world’s less well-resourced countries. I congratulate these international collaborations.” 

The projects are an answer to a call from the Government of Canada in April, when it launched the COVID-19 Rapid Research Funding Opportunity, committing CA$109 million to pandemic research in Canada and around the world. The inter-agency collaboration, led by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, involved contributions from several provincial organizations, along with CA$6.5 million from IDRC. A total of 139 projects received funding from the call out of more than 1,000 applications.

“Accelerating high-quality research and real-time evidence is a priority for Canada in its fight against COVID-19,” says the Honourable Patty Hajdu, Canada’s Minister of Health.I congratulate the successful teams for their essential work aimed at better preventing, detecting, and treating COVID-19 at the individual and population levels. Our government believes that it’s through collaboration and data sharing that we will respond efficiently to this global health emergency.”

IDRC recognizes the need for international collaboration to respond to the pandemic and is committed to working with partners to form an effective global response. The Centre is supporting research to address urgent local needs, build local capacities, and focus on the most vulnerable populations, with an eye toward building more resilient, inclusive, and sustainable societies, economies, and environments.

More information on each of the ten projects will be available soon.