Virologists around the world have always suspected that pandemics such as the one we are experiencing right now were going to happen. Lorne Tyrrell is founder and head of the Li Ka Shing Institute of Virology at the University of Alberta, and he says even though he knew a pandemic would happen, he didn’t expect it to be a coronavirus.
His institute has numerous COVID-19 research projects underway, and 3 of those were in the first wave of funding
from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. The research team was able to put together their grant proposals in a week and receive approvals within a few days – an indication of just how seriously funders and researchers are treating the problem. The teams are studying testing, treatment, and vaccine options for COVID-19 and got to work immediately in the U of A facility which includes a Level 3 lab. (which means it has containment precautions which allow it to work with microbes that can cause disease via inhalation)
He knows that vaccines will take some time to be developed and tested but he sees anti-viral treatments ready to go in a much shorter time frame.
Dr. Tyrrell talked with freelance broadcaster Don Hill about the coronavirus and the work underway at the Li Ka Shing Institute.