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U of M researchers collaborating on across Canada COVID study

Two researchers at the University of Manitoba are collaborating with colleagues across Canada to study new COVID-19 variants and find solutions to help curb them.

Jason Kindrachuk and Deanna Santer are lending their expertise to the Coronavirus Variants Rapid Response Network, which is a government-funded research program.

"One of the things we're trying to understand is where this virus is going within our community," said Kindrachuk.

Santer will be looking at how antiviral drugs, such as Remdesivir and Paxlovid, could not be effective if they are used alone as new variants continue to appear.

"We need to expand our treatment 'toolbox' to ensure we can effectively stop whichever virus variant is currently circulating," Santer said in a news release.

Meanwhile, Kindrachuk is looking at how COVID-19 and its variants affect animals and how that could impact human beings.

"We are trying to understand where the virus is going from a national standpoint, a regional standpoint in Canada. Which animals may or may not be suitable hosts for this virus and what the virus is doing when it gets into these animals. Is it evolving, is it changing? What is it doing and what is the potential that it could impart any sort of changes that could allow it to spill back into humans," said Kindrachuk.

He added this could also show how the virus could impact public health, the global economy, food security, agriculture and more.

Looking at this project as a whole, Kindrachuk said the end goal is to deal with what the pandemic is presenting in Canada.

"It really is to try and identify new variants as they emerge, understand what the impact is on our health. But also new ways to be able to try to contain what we are facing or at least limit the potential effects on health care in general, and on people's health."

He said launching a national research program like this will also put the pillars in place for collaboration if and when the country has to deal with a new virus. Top Stories

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