Made-in-Alberta vaccine and drug development pipeline gets funding

Alberta invests $55.1M to taking vaccines, antiviral drugs from discovery to manufacturing

Made-in-Alberta vaccine and drug development pipeline gets fundingAlberta is building a better pipeline, but this one’s not for oil and gas products – it’s for vaccines and therapeutic drugs to fight viral diseases. The province announced a $55.1-million grant on Wednesday for University of Alberta research on ways to prevent and treat COVID-19, including $15 million for vaccine projects and $10 million for studies…

Promising chemotherapy treatment for bladder cancer enters human trials

A rejected patent application nearly derailed years of research, but support from experts saved the day

Promising chemotherapy treatment for bladder cancer enters human trialsIn 2015, University of Alberta cancer researcher Jack Tuszynski learned that his patent application for a promising chemotherapy treatment for people suffering from metastatic bladder cancer had been rejected by the U.S. Patent Office. “That was it. I thought, ‘We can’t proceed, we’re done, we spent almost a decade working on this and it’s a no go,’”…

SARS-CoV-2 uses sugars to invade human cells, new study shows

Understanding the process could help scientists look out for new, more infectious variants

SARS-CoV-2 uses sugars to invade human cells, new study showsSugars found on the surface of human cells influence COVID-19 infection, according to a University of Alberta-led study that’s one of the first to observe this relationship and suggests that cells in the brain might be particularly susceptible. “The idea here is that the virus is leveraging or using the host glycans, or the host sugars,…

Infections from respiratory viruses follow predictable seasonal pattern

Infections peak in January to June – a pattern that could help the health-care system plan

Infections from respiratory viruses follow predictable seasonal patternResearchers have identified a clear-cut seasonal pattern of respiratory viruses that could help hospitals plan for waves of sick patients. Bouts of respiratory illness from six viruses that were analyzed all peak in January and hit a low in June, with the peaks worse every second year, according to lead researcher Michael Hawkes, a pediatrics…

How to decontaminate and reuse masks during pandemic

Heat and methylene blue decontaminate N95 respirators, surgical masks without affecting performance

How to decontaminate and reuse masks during pandemicAn international study involving University of Alberta researchers has revealed two effective ways to sterilize disposable masks, potentially allowing them to be reused by health-care workers during the COVID-19 pandemic in areas with limited resources. The study, led out of the University of Colorado and involving an international consortium of researchers, offers health authorities clear…

Discovery shows promise for safer, more effective COVID-19 treatments

Protease inhibitor compounds interfere with the SARS-CoV-2 virus’s ability to replicate itself

Discovery shows promise for safer, more effective COVID-19 treatmentsA team of researchers at the University of Alberta has uncovered new antiviral agents that could lead to safer and more effective COVID-19 treatments than other drugs under development. In a recently published paper in the Journal of Medicinal Chemistry, the researchers identified novel protease inhibitor compounds that interfere with the SARS-CoV-2 virus’s ability to replicate…

Sex matters when it comes to your susceptibility to infections

Anemia generates different immune responses in men and women

Sex matters when it comes to your susceptibility to infectionsA University of Alberta-led study shows that when it comes to susceptibility to infections and other health conditions, sex matters. The research, published in the journal Frontiers in Immunology, was led by U of A immunologist Shokrollah Elahi. Elahi and his team looked at how anemia – a condition in which a person lacks enough mature red…

Convalescent plasma doesn’t help severely ill COVID-19 patients: study

Blood transfusions from people who recovered from the disease didn’t help patients improve

Convalescent plasma doesn’t help severely ill COVID-19 patients: studyGiving severely ill COVID-19 patients a blood transfusion from donors who have already recovered from the virus did not help them improve. In some cases, according to a major Canadian-led clinical trial reporting results in Nature Medicine, it made them sicker. “Convalescent plasma had been found to boost immunity in patients infected with some other viral…

The fight against future pandemics must be proactive

Instead of playing catch-up with the next virus, precision medicine lets us deal with it swiftly

The fight against future pandemics must be proactiveOn March 17, David Wishart, ’83 BSc (Hons), fielded a call from Medellin, Colombia. A company called Quantrack had a job for him. The novel COVID‑19 coronavirus had its hooks in the country. The Quantrack team figured that if Wishart, a professor of both biology and computing science, could make one of his famous heat…

Inhibitors could lead to new antiviral drugs to treat COVID-19

May be the best option for treating outbreaks in unvaccinated and under-vaccinated populations

Inhibitors could lead to new antiviral drugs to treat COVID-19The rapid development of safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines has been a major step forward in helping bring the pandemic under control. But with the rise of variants and an uneven global distribution of vaccines, COVID-19 is a disease that will have to be managed for some time. Antiviral drugs that target the way the…