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Sunnybrook scientists awarded CIHR funding to research mpox and other zoonotic diseases

May 24, 2023

Today at Sunnybrook, the Honourable Rob Oliphant, Member of Parliament for Don Valley West, announced, on behalf of the Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Health, an investment of $6.35M from the Government of Canada to support thirteen teams across Canada that will carry out national and global health research projects on mpox and other zoonotic threats.

CIHR’s Centre for Research on Pandemic Preparedness and Health Emergencies is providing funding for eleven of the mpox projects, while the HIV/AIDS and Sexually Transmitted and Blood Borne Infections (STBBI) Research Initiative is funding two projects. Dr. Marisa Creatore, Executive Director of the Centre for Research on Pandemic Preparedness and Health Emergencies at CIHR joined MP Oliphant to make the announcement.

Two of the successful research teams are led by Sunnybrook scientists Dr. Samira Mubareka and Dr. Rob Kozak, who received $1M in combined funding

Dr. Kozak and collaborators from the University of Toronto and Vaccine and the Infectious Disease Organization (VIDO) will gauge the risk of a poxvirus outbreak in the Canadian agricultural sector. The research team will determine the risk of mpox infection to livestock in Canada and use the information to develop risk mitigation and control strategies, protecting food security and the health of workers.

Dr. Mubareka and collaborators at the Canadian Wildlife Health Cooperative, University of Guelph, Trent University, Dalhousie University, University of Montreal, and The National Centre for Foreign Animal Disease, as well as researchers in Ghana and Nigeria, and others are applying a multidisciplinary, One Health approach to identify and characterize zoonotic pathogen exposure and transmission risk between humans and animals, generating health intelligence through surveillance for mpox and other viral zoonoses. Through this work and these international collaborations, they aim to fortify Canadian capacity for interdisciplinary, transboundary research for emerging zoonoses.

Read the full news release from the Government of Canada