U of M Mark Lab is developing Antiviral Drug Strategies to combat COVID-19

Molecular model of PLpro - a promising antiviral drug target found in the coronavirus that causes CoVID-19

Dr. Brian Mark, in the department of microbiology is playing a key role in a national effort to combat the spread of COVID-19.

On March 6, the Minister of Health, Patty Hajdu announced COVID-19 Rapid Response funding, an investment of almost $27M in coronavirus research, aimed at mitigating the outbreak and preventing misinformation.

Dr. Mark is a co-investigator, in collaboration with (Dr. Sachdev Sidhu, principal investigator, Donnelly Center U of T and Dr. Roman Melnyk, Toronto Hospital for Sick Children).

Dr. Brian Mark, Professor, Microbiologist, Associate Dean of Research, University of Manitoba, Faculty of Science, Department of Microbiology.

Dr. Mark is examining the molecular biology of coronavirus for weakness that can be targeted for antiviral drug development and vaccine development. His prior work on MERS coronavirus is now being applied to target antiviral drug strategies against SARS-CoV-2, the causative agent of COVID-19.

In total, 47 research teams across the country received funding through several agencies and non-profits: the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, the Canada Research Coordinating Committee, the International Development Research Centre and Genome Canada.

In a statement, Theresa Tam, the chief public health officer of Canada, spoke of the importance of research in responding to emerging disease outbreaks.

“The research to be undertaken by the successful teams will help to answer some of our most pressing questions about COVID-19 and help to develop the tools we need to effectively respond to this global public health emergency,” she said.

Mar 9, 2020