Updates from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR)

With support from the Government of Canada, CIHR has continued to rapidly respond to emerging research priorities to address the COVID-19 pandemic. This has included funding directed towards populations which have been profoundly impacted by the pandemic.
In September, CIHR was a key partner in the Implementation Science Teams – Strengthening Pandemic Preparedness in Long-Term Care ($1.7M) funding opportunity, which aimed to help long-term care and retirement homes be better prepared for future potential pandemic outbreaks. CIHR also invested $2M to help address the impact of COVID-19 on the health and well-being of Indigenous Peoples.

In an effort to coordinate research capacities and activities during COVID-19, CIHR has funded the establishment of two key networks: (1) the COVID-19 Evidence Network to support Decision-making (COVID-END) ($1M), which brings together world renowned experts focused on prioritizing and developing rapid and timely knowledge syntheses covering the full spectrum of the pandemic response (including public-health measures, clinical management, health-system arrangements and economic and social responses); and (2) the Network of Clinical Trials Networks: Collaboration to Evaluate COVID-19 and Intervention Strategies ($6M), focused on coordinating research on diverse interventions to prevent, detect, manage, and/or treat COVID-19. These networks aim to not only contribute to the Canadian COVID-19 research response, but also build research capacity for global coordination.

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve, so do corresponding research priorities. In a direct response to the emergence of novel variants of concern which are circulating throughout the world, CIHR has announced an upcoming rapid research response call designed to contribute to global efforts to address SARS-CoV-2 variants. CIHR is investing up to $25M to increase understanding of the emerging variants and inform therapeutic and public health strategies. Another area of research which has become increasingly critical as the pandemic has evolved, is understanding the implications of Long COVID. Building on the gaps in knowledge and research priorities identified through the NIH/NIAID Workshop on Post-Acute Sequelae of COVID-19 and the GloPID-R & ISARIC COVID Joint Research Forum, CIHR will be hosting a Canadian Long COVID meeting. This meeting will engage a wide scope of participants, including policy makers, service providers, patients and researchers, to ensure harmonization and collaboration in addressing the implications of Long COVID within a Canadian context, as well as contributing to overall global efforts.

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The GloPID-R Secretariat is a project which receives funding from the European Union’s Horizon Europe research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 101094188.