$12 Million in new funding for influenza research across Canada
HALIFAX, Feb. 23, 2012
Investing in the health of Canadians
HALIFAX, Feb. 23, 2012 /CNW/ - New funding of $12 million from
GlaxoSmithKline plc. (GSK) - a world-leading research-based
pharmaceutical company - will support an additional three years of
research, monitoring the effectiveness of seasonal influenza vaccines
by tracking the incidence and severity of disease in adults
hospitalized with influenza. The research will be conducted in forty
hospitals across Canada comprising approximately 17,000 adult acute
care beds, including sites in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Quebec,
Ontario, Manitoba, and British Columbia. Researchers representing the Public Health Agency of Canada/Canadian Institutes of Health Research
Influenza Research Network (PCIRN), announced the funding for the Serious Outcomes Surveillance (SOS)
Network today in Halifax, where the national research will be led.
The PCIRN SOS Network began its work in 2009 with support from the
federal agencies. The network is managed by a national team of
investigators led by Dr. Shelly McNeil, an infectious disease
specialist at Capital Health, Halifax, and Associate Professor,
Dalhousie University. The QEII Health Sciences Centre and Dartmouth
General Hospital are participating sites in Capital Health.
"This significant funding from GlaxoSmithKline will help ensure that the
key infrastructure we began building three years ago will continue to
serve Canadians," said Dr. McNeil. "Specifically, funds will support
the operation of surveillance sites at hospitals across Canada, as we
focus on the evaluation of influenza and influenza vaccine
effectiveness in the elderly."
The PCIRN SOS Network also assesses the health and economic burden of
influenza in Canadian adults, in order to best understand how vaccines
can be used to prevent influenza disease in adults, and to understand
risk factors for more severe disease. The research conducted by the
Network can also be used to assess the effectiveness of new vaccines as
they become available.
Dr. Ray LeBlanc, Vice President, Innovation and Learning at Capital
Health, said "partnering with business helps support large-scale
national research such as this with the potential to benefit all
"What we learn from clinical research evaluating the effectiveness of
vaccines will make a difference not only to those at risk of serious
complications from influenza, but can also help us reduce the burden on
our health care systems across the country," Dr. LeBlanc said. "We are
proud to be leading this work at Capital Health."
"We believe the research-based pharmaceutical industry should be part of
the solution to the healthcare sustainability challenges that face
Canadians," added Paul Lucas, President and CEO, GlaxoSmithKline Inc.
"And GSK is prepared to make investments in strong collaborations, like
with PCIRN's SOS Network for the influenza surveillance study, that
will enhance our understanding of disease burden, help to demonstrate
the value medicines and vaccines can bring to patients, and ultimately
improve the healthcare system and the lives of patients across this
country and around the world."
Seasonal influenza (flu) is a common infection of the airways and lungs
that can spread easily among humans. Influenza may be associated with
serious complications such as pneumonia, especially in infants, the
elderly and those with underlying medical conditions like diabetes,
anemia, cancer, immune suppression, HIV and kidney disease. The Public
Health Agency of Canada reports that on average, the flu and its
complications send about 20,000 Canadians to hospital every year, and
between 2,000 and 8,000 Canadians die.
About PCIRN and the SOS Network
PHAC/CIHR Influenza Research Network (PCIRN), a national network of influenza vaccine researchers, develops and
tests methodologies related to the evaluation of influenza vaccines as
they pertain to safety, immunogenicity and effectiveness, and program
implementation and evaluation. PCIRN is funded by a grant from the
Public Health Agency of Canada and the Canadian Institutes of Health
Research and was established in 2009. Currently more than 90
investigators at 30 institutions across Canada are involved in the
The Serious Outcomes Surveillance Network (SOS Network), an arm of
PCIRN, is comprised of 40 adult hospital sites representing 17,000
acute care beds in seven provinces. The SOS Network is managed by a
team of investigators led by Dr. Shelly McNeil, based at the Canadian
Center for Vaccinology, a collaboration between Capital District Health
Authority (CHDA), the IWK Health Centre and Dalhousie University.
About GlaxoSmithKline Inc.
GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) is a leading research-based pharmaceutical company
with a challenging and inspiring mission: to improve the quality of
human life by enabling people to do more, feel better, and live longer.
This mission gives GSK the purpose to develop innovative medicines,
vaccines and healthcare solutions that help millions of people. GSK is
consistently recognized as one of the 50 best employers in Canada and
is a top 15 investor in Canadian research and development, contributing
more than $141 million in 2010 alone. With a proud tradition of
charitable and community support, GSK is designated a Caring Company by
Imagine Canada. Discover more at GSK.ca.
About Capital District Health Authority
Capital Health comprises: Addiction Prevention and Treatment Services;
Capital District Mental Health Program; Centre for Clinical Research;
Cobequid Community Health Centre; Community Health; Dartmouth General
Hospital; East Coast Forensic Hospital; Eastern Shore Memorial
Hospital; Hants Community Hospital; Integrated Continuing Care;
Musquodoboit Valley Memorial Hospital; Nova Scotia Environmental Health
Centre; The Nova Scotia Hospital; Public Health Services; Twin Oaks
Memorial Hospital; and the QEII Health Sciences Centre.
The Capital Health District also encompasses seven volunteer Community
Health Boards that advise Capital Health through the development of
community health plans and encourage public participation in health
planning. For more information, visit the Capital Health website: www.cdha.nshealth.ca.
About Dalhousie University
Dalhousie University, located in the heart of downtown Halifax, is a
world-renowned educational institution providing exemplary leadership
in academia, research, and community. At the forefront of leading
research initiatives, Dalhousie boasts one of the best student-faculty
ratios in Canada and is home to nationally and internationally
celebrated faculty members. Across all three campuses, you'll find
diversity among students, variety among programs and opportunity for
personal and professional growth.