McMaster University has garnered $20 million in new funding for 17 COVID-19 research projects from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and their funding partners.

McMaster had the second most funded grants though the COVID-19 Rapid Research Funding Opportunity which supported 139 projects across the country for a total of $109M.

The CIHR grants for McMaster are in addition to the $9M in COVID-19-related research announced earlier this month. Support for those projects came from all sectors of tri-council agencies, federal and provincial governments, foundations, private companies, and philanthropists, including Charles and Margaret Juravinski.

“This phenomenal success is yet another example of McMaster’s excellence in health research,” said Jonathan Bramson, vice-dean, research for the Faculty of Health Sciences. “It is heartening to see that the funded research spans a broad range of themes from development of diagnostics and therapeutics to addressing practical questions regarding patient management to the investigation of long-term consequences of the pandemic on well-being and mental health.”

Paul O’Byrne, dean and vice-president of the Faculty of Health Sciences said: “These significant grants are remarkable but also unsurprising as the excellence of McMaster’s health researchers spans so many fields. We have a tradition of excellence in infectious disease expertise particularly because of our Michael G. DeGroote Institute for Infectious Disease Research.”

In making the announcement this week, federal Health Minister Patty Hajdu said: “Accelerating high-quality research and real-time evidence is a priority for Canada in its fight against COVID-19. 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.”

Fifteen of the principal investigators are from the Faculty of Health Sciences with one from the Faculty of Engineering. The projects include:


Donald Arnold, associate professor, medicine

A randomized open-label trial of convalescent plasma for hospitalized adults with acute COVID-19 respiratory illness (CONCOR-1)

$2,972,000


John Eikelboom, associate professor, medicine

Anti-coronavirus therapy (ACT) to prevent COVID-19 disease progression: A clinical trial platform

$2,937,000


Darryl Leong, assistant professor, medicine

PURE SARS-CoV-2: A prospective urban rural epidemiology (PURE) sub-study

$2,067,000


Zhou Xing, professor, pathology and molecular medicine

Rapid bench-to-human development of safe and effective aerosol vaccine strategies against COVID-19

$1,921,000


Mark Loeb, professor, pathology and molecular medicine

Determinants of community COVID transmission: Learning from the Hutterites

$1,482,000


Holger Schünemann, professor, health research methods, evidence, and impact, and medicine

A systematic and living evidence and guideline recommendation map on COVID-19

$1,456,000


Yingfu Li, professor, biochemistry and biomedical sciences

A rapid at-home test for SARS-CoV-2

$1,314,000


Paul Kim, assistant professor, medicine

COVID-19: Comprehensive biomarker analysis for prediction of clinical course and patient treatment outcomes (COVID-BEACONS)

$1,173,000


Waleed Alhazzani, associate professor, medicine

Awake prone position in hypoxemic patients with coronavirus disease 19

$1,089,000


Andrea Baumann, associate vice-president, global health

Long-term care in crisis: The reality of COVID-19

$959,000


Mark Loeb, professor, pathology and molecular medicine

Medical masks versus N95 respirators to prevent COVID-19 in healthcare workers:

A randomized trial

$625,000


Andrew Costa, associate professor, health research methods, evidence, and impact

A rapid research platform to inform prevention and improve the clinical management of COVID-19 illness for priority older adult groups: The Ontario multi-regional hospital coronavirus registry (COREG)

$462,000


James MacKillop, professor, psychiatry and behavioural neurosciences

Utilization of an existing longitudinal observational cohort of community adults to characterize the mental health and substance use impacts of COVID-19

$415,000


Deborah Siegal, assistant professor, medicine

Venous thrombosis virtual surveillance in COVID (VVIRTUOSO)

$304,000


Zeinab Hosseini-Doust, assistant professor, chemical engineering

Establishing a research platform for investigating and optimizing PPE filtration/barrier efficiencies against aerosolized bacteria and viruses in clinical healthcare settings

$279,000


Romina Brignardello Petersen, assistant professor, health research methods, evidence, and impact

Living network meta-analysis and rapid recommendations for the treatment of COVID-19

$276,000


Melissa Kimber, assistant professor, psychiatry and behavioural neurosciences

Psychological first aid training to address COVID-19 related stressors

$143,000