As part of a federal funding announcement earlier today, Canada’s Michael Smith Genome Sciences Centre (GSC) at BC Cancer will be one of four Canadian institutions on the forefront of using genome science to understand how different people respond to COVID-19 infection.  

Effective immediately the GSC, hosted at the BC Cancer Research Institute—a research institute of the Provincial Health Services Authority (PHSA) and the University of British Columbia (UBC)—will use cutting-edge genomic technology to sequence the DNA of thousands of Canadians who have tested positive for COVID-19. Researchers expect to identify how the disease is transmitted and which people may be more vulnerable to the disease. These findings will help better inform public health policy to help keep Canadians safe by helping to better assess, triage and treat the most vulnerable COVID-19 patients.

Dr. Steven Jones, Director, Head of Bioinformatics, GSC“Scientists at the GSC were among the first in the world to sequence the SARS coronavirus genome in 2003. Today’s announcement of funding will further Canada’s significant contributions to our understanding of the mechanisms of coronavirus infection and disease prognosis,” said Dr. Steven Jones, Director & Head of Bioinformatics at the GSC. 

Listen to Dr. Jones on CKNW discussing this research with Simi Sara. 

The GSC is part of a network of genome sequencing centres, known as CGEn, which, in addition to PHSA and UBC includes The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto and McGill University in Montréal. Today, it was announced that CGEn will receive $20 million to sequence 10,000 Canadians that have tested positive for COVID-19.

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