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OVC experts contributing to new COVID-19 research

Prof. Scott Weese, Ontario Veterinary College, University of GuelphProf. Amy Greer, Ontario Veterinary College, University of GuelphOntario Veterinary College researchers with unique expertise in disease modelling and One Health approaches will be part of two major research projects aimed at addressing the coronavirus outbreak. The projects recently received federal government funding.

Prof. Scott Weese, an expert in zoonotic infections, will be part of a research project that will investigate the global management of COVID-19 using the “One Health” approach in which human and animal health experts collaborate to manage infectious disease.

The team will use rapid data gathering and analysis methods to identify areas requiring attention and make recommendations for improving infectious disease response.

Weese, a professor in the Department of Pathobiology at the University of Guelph’s Ontario Veterinary College and director of the U of G’s Centre for Public Health and Zoonoses, will focus on providing the animal and One Health perspective, such as how international animal movement can contribute to transmission of zoonotic viruses.

The project will be led by Ronald Labonté of the University of Ottawa School of Epidemiology and Public Health.

In another project, population medicine professor Amy Greer, an expert in infectious disease modelling, will use math and statistical modelling to forecast the near-term course of the epidemic and will build simulations to help guide Canadian health agencies in efforts to limit the spread of the virus.

The project also aims to provide accurate information to Canadians to help reduce fear, xenophobia and anxiety that often attend emerging diseases.

Holder of a Canada Research Chair in Population Disease Modelling, Greer explores the introduction, spread and control of infectious diseases. She and colleagues are already analyzing and modelling coronavirus to help public health agencies understand the virus and predict what’s next.

The project is led by Dr. David Fisman and Prof. Ashleigh Tuite, Division of Epidemiology at the University of Toronto, and includes doctors, epidemiologists, public health professionals and statisticians. Many, including Greer, have experience responding to outbreaks such as H1N1 influenza, SARS and Ebola.

Earlier this month, the federal government announced the 47 projects that were approved in a rapid funding competition providing nearly $27 million for research to inform public health responses to COVID-19 and develop diagnostic tools, treatments and vaccines.

Read the entire news story on the University of Guelph website.