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CoVaRR-Net’s Mandate

CoVaRR-Net, or Coronavirus Variants Rapid Response Network, is a network of interdisciplinary researchers from institutions across the country created to assist in the Government of Canada’s overall strategy to address the potential threat of emerging SARS-CoV-2 variants. Our mandate is to coordinate, facilitate, support and accelerate rapid response research throughout Canada.

We are in the process of creating mechanisms, such as the CoVaRR-Net Biobank, a data sharing platform, a Wastewater Surveillance Group, and the Canadian Consortium of Academic Biosafety Level 3 Laboratories, and are aiming to elaborate material sharing agreements. All these are in an effort to simplify the sharing of physical research resources, data and knowledge, for this pandemic and the next, making it easier and faster for researchers to get what they need to study variants in Canada.

The goal: rapidly answer critical and immediate questions regarding variants, such as their increased transmissibility, likelihood to cause severe cases of COVID-19, and resistance to vaccines. The findings from the experts in our network and their teams will provide decision makers in Canada, but also abroad, with guidance regarding drug therapy, vaccine effectiveness, and other public health strategies.

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Preparing for Future Pandemics

CoVaRR-Net is not only focusing on SARS-CoV-2 variants. The current pandemic has revealed challenges and roadblocks in how Canadian researchers share information and physical resources between themselves, as well as in how they collaborate with public health laboratories and industry partners to carry out rapid response research.

CoVaRR-Net believes it is essential to plan for future pandemics, whether they will be caused by viruses or microorganisms such as bacteria and fungi. That is why it is currently laying the foundations to evolve into a Pandemic Preparedness Network.

The goal will be to foster close ties, collaborations, and relationships with public health laboratories and industry — because everyone’s contribution is critical during a pandemic.

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CoVaRR-Net Funded Research Results

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Our Team

CoVaRR-Net brings together some of Canada’s most eminent researchers and experts from various scientific and medical disciplines linked to emerging variants. Our team is structured by themes or “Pillars” that study and analyze different biological, epidemiological, social and societal aspects related to variants and their impacts on all Canadians, with a special focus on Indigenous communities and priority populations. We also have teams organizing shared network resources, promoting health equity and inclusion, and providing public outreach and communications. By connecting this country’s best variant-related research labs, this network ensures a rapid and coordinated response to emerging variants that fuel and sustain the pandemic.

Marc-André Langlois

Marc-André Langlois

Executive Director
Ninan Abraham

Ninan Abraham

Director, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI)
Jennifer Gommerman

Jennifer Gommerman

Immunology & Vaccine Protection
Angela Rasmussen

Angela Rasmussen

Host-Pathogen Interactions
Louis Flamand

Louis Flamand

Virology
Anne-Claude Gingras

Anne-Claude Gingras

Functional Genomics & Structure-Function of VOCs
Ioannis Ragoussis

Ioannis Ragoussis

Viral Genomics & Sequencing
Jesse Shapiro

Jesse Shapiro

Computational Biology and Modelling
Kimberly Huyser

Kimberly Huyser

Indigenous Engagement, Development, and Research
Nazeem Muhajarine

Nazeem Muhajarine

Public Health, Health Systems and Social Policy Impacts
Melissa Brouwers

Melissa Brouwers

Knowledge, Implementation and Training Team (KITT)
Jeremy Grimshaw

Jeremy Grimshaw

Knowledge, Implementation and Training Team (KITT)

François Jean

Antiviral Strategies and Antiviral Therapeutics

This network will act as Canada’s integrated platform for determining how VOCs impact Canadians from diverse communities and demographics and for tracking how SARS-CoV-2 is mutating in real time, while evolving into a future cornerstone for pandemic preparedness in Canada.

Marc-André Langlois, CoVaRR-Net Executive Director

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