Seven COVID-19 research projects split $2.1 million in Alberta government funding

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Laura Kilcrease, CEO of Alberta Innovates, said the projects announced Monday are aimed at improving prevention, detection, care and recovery for Albertans.

Jie Chen, a University of Alberta engineering professor, received $304,200 to develop and verify a rapid COVID-19 antibody detection device. Antibody testing can help identify people who may have been infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus or have recovered from COVID-19.

For his work in designing and standardizing serology, or antibody, testing, Andrei Drabovich, U of A assistant professor of laboratory medicine and pathology, got $182,098.

Looking at predicting and managing COVID-19’s movement and spread using machine learning, Mark Lewis, a U of A professor in biological sciences and mathematics, received $220,545. That grant is supported through Alberta Health’s Pfizer Alberta Collaboration.

U of A President Bill Flanagan said there were more than 75 COVID-19-related research projectsalready underway at the university.

Other U of A recipients of the Alberta Innovates grants include Matthias Hoben, assistant professor in nursing, who received $328,376 to study the experiences and support needs of COVID-19 caregivers in assisted living facilities.

And Puneeta Tandon, associate professor of medicine, received $326,297 to study how to best connect vulnerable outpatients with multidisciplinary care once they are released from hospital.

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