We’re proud to be living in a province that has been so diligent in flattening the curve, and we’re even more proud of the progress that Saskatchewan's technology and research sectors have made in support of COVID-19 efforts.
At Innovation Saskatchewan, we are always committed to supporting our researchers —and it’s especially important during this trying time. We spoke with some organizations who have been focusing their efforts on initiatives in response to the pandemic:
Saskatchewan Health Research Foundation (SHRF)
SHRF has been supporting several Saskatchewan research projects through community collaborations and partnerships. Their dedicated COVID-19 Response webpage outlines all of the work they have been doing and supporting to date, which is updated with new projects as they are funded.
In partnership with the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), SHRF is supporting Saskatchewan’s participation in COVID-19: Improving the Evidence to Treat an Emerging Infection Through Observational Studies and a Randomized Trial. Leading the project in Saskatchewan is Dr. Alex Wong from the University of Saskatchewan, who is working with the national lead, Dr. Srinivas Murthy from the University of British Columbia. This national study will treat hospitalized patients who have confirmed cases of COVID-19 with an antiviral agent through a randomized clinical trial. By supporting Dr. Wong, Saskatchewan patients will be involved in this global project and have access to clinical trial drugs and treatments.
SHRF has also supported more than 20 COVID-19 rapid response projects through Research Connections grants. SHRF provided this funding to put timely evidence-based research knowledge into action. Some funded projects to date include Understanding and Managing COVID Stress Syndrome led by Gordon Asmundson from the University of Regina, which is the development of an online assessment system for the public that will educate and mitigate the mental health impacts of COVID-19 and help individuals identify the best methods for managing their pandemic-related distress; 360 Degree Immersive COVID Training for Paramedics led by Jacqueline Messer-Lepage from the Saskatchewan College of Paramedics, which is a proposal with Luxsonic Technologies Inc (Luxsonic) to create immersive medical education videos related to the safe care of COVID-19 patients that will be freely available to paramedics in Saskatchewan and will provide important knowledge needed to keep both patients and healthcare providers safe; among other funded projects and research connections.
Sylvia Fedoruk Canadian Centre for Nuclear Innovation Inc. (Fedoruk Centre)
The Fedoruk Centre have adjusted the operation of the Saskatchewan Centre for Cyclotron Sciences (SCCS) to ensure they can continue delivering their nuclear imaging agent FDG to the Royal University Hospital, which is essential for PET-CT scanning of patients to diagnose and treat cancer. Their top priorities are the safety of their staff, users, and the public, as well as maintaining a state of readiness to produce FDG for delivery to regional hospitals.
Aligning with the policy of the University of Saskatchewan, SCCS owner, as well as the province’s guidelines for controlling the spread of COVID-19, the Fedoruk Centre has limited access of researchers to the facility to exceptional circumstances and only with prior approval.
Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization-International Vaccine Centre at the University of Saskatchewan (VIDO-InterVac)
VIDO-InterVac is developing a vaccine against COVID-19. The organization was the first in Canada to isolate the virus and has established ferret and hamster models to better understand COVID-19 and test potential vaccines, therapeutics, and antivirals. They are also constructing a pilot-scale manufacturing facility that meets Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) standards for human vaccine production to help accelerate the development of Canadian vaccines and support Canada’s emergency preparedness.
Thank you to everyone involved in helping us learn and progress during this pandemic. We’re all in this together, and every contribution gives our tech community the strength to stand united and get ahead of this crisis. The situation is looking different every day, but Saskatchewan’s resiliency keeps on shining.
If you have any questions, comments, or concerns, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us. Stay well, everyone.