Experts gather at EPIC symposium to discuss how to bolster support for infectious disease research and pandemic preparedness
A panel of experts called for sustained funding investments, stronger ready-to-use infrastructure and improved communications to help Canada break the cycle of panic and neglect around infectious diseases. These themes emerged from a discussion at the first annual Emerging and Pandemic Infections Consortium symposium held in mid-October. The panelists included Leah Cowen, vice-president, research and innovation, and strategic initiatives at the University of Toronto, Marisa Creatore, executive director of the Centre for Research on Pandemic Preparedness and Health Emergencies at the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, and U of T President Emeritus David Naylor.
Harnessing synthetic biology to create low-cost diagnostics and improve infectious disease surveillance
EPIC Doctoral Award recipient Justin Vigar is using synthetic biology to develop rapid, low-cost diagnostic tools to combat infectious diseases. He and his lab mates are creating a customizable, paper-based platform that uses pocket-sized slips of paper with genetic circuits embedded onto them. The circuitry is built by freeze drying proteins and other molecular components, which function as amplifiers and sensors, directly onto the paper.
As cold and flu season approaches, Canadians are facing respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), an increase in COVID-19 activity, and influenza — but also have new options to protect their health. To learn more, we spoke with Shelly Bolotin, director of the Centre for Vaccine Preventable Diseases, Shaun Morris, a pediatric infectious disease physician at the Hospital for Sick Children, and Allison McGeer, an infectious disease specialist at Toronto’s Sinai Health.