CoVaRR-Net (Coronavirus Variants Rapid Response Network)’s 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.
We are 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 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.
Our network continuously monitors Canadian and international virus sequencing efforts, making it a critical element of the Canadian ecosystem for the surveillance of variants of concern (VOCs). We work collaboratively with the Public Health Agency of Canada’s National Microbiology Laboratory (NML), the Canadian COVID-19 Genomics Network (CanCOGeN), provincial and territorial public health labs, and other national and international bodies.
Our network’s findings inform the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC), and federal, provincial, territorial, and regional public health decision makers, helping to guide their response in an effort to reduce virus transmission and keep Canadians safe.
CoVaRR-Net was created with a $9 million investment at the end of March 2021 as part of the Government of Canada’s Variants of Concern Strategy.