U of R professor granted $1 million for COVID-19 research

A professor at the University of Regina has been given close to $1 million dollars from the federal government for research into gaps in therapy and diagnosis of COVID-19.

Dr. Mohan Babu, an associate professor of biochemistry is focusing on the testing and diagnosis of asymptomatic and mild symptomatic people.

Dr. Babu says the money is an important step in his research.

“It’s very important for us as a team,” said Dr. Babu. “It’s very important because it’s one of the important problems in society right now, as a globe, that we need to find some cure for this generational threat.”

He says he is studying how the coronavirus hijacks proteins in the body during infection, and has a goal of developing antiviral peptides to block the virus from entering or replicating human cells.

The funding is also focusing on a less invasive and faster way to diagnose COVID-19.

When the research is completed, Dr. Babu says that diagnosis will take less than 5 minutes.

Dr. Babu adds that there is still so much that we don’t know about the coronavirus, and the only way that we are going to learn everything is if everyone works together.

“It’s fundamentally important as a society, that all the researchers work together, people who are working on COVID-19, should come forward,” said Babu. “We always need to find a way to share our resources to collaborate, and find a way to solve this problem.”

Babu’s team consists of researchers from the University of Saskatchewan, including VIDO-InterVac, Carleton University, the University of Toronto, the Public Health Agency of Canada, the University of Manitoba, and Western University.

By working with researchers around the country, Babu says that research will be more efficient and thorough.

“We all have to come together and help each other out in all possible ways,” said Babu. “There’ll be much more meaningful that will can come out from many labs that can be useful for the federal government, and for many other countries around the globe.”

139 other COVID-19 projects have received funding across Canada totalling $109 million

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