NEWS

Genomics to the rescue — for Ontario, Canada and the world

April 5, 2021

It is globally recognized that real-time genomic surveillance is a key tool that needs to be widely adopted and utilized for seamless open data sharing. Ontario’s genomics community has the know-how to put genomics infrastructure and data sciences to work in a comprehensive and collaborative environment that enables much-needed data access and sharing. Our team is proud to have helped build the infrastructure supporting Ontario’s response. As the only organization with a complete end-to-end view of Ontario’s genomics sector, we have worked, since the earliest days of the pandemic, to break down silos and leverage the expertise of the entire sector in the fight against the virus. "We welcome the government of Ontario’s recent move to build on this coalition [ONCoV] framework with their own genomics-based viral surveillance program," says Dr. Bettina Hamelin, President and CEO of Ontario Genomics. Read on to learn more about how genomics is the solution to a majority of issues faced by the world.

New COVID-19 Antibody Test 'Glows' When Antibodies Are Present

A group of Canadian scientists led by Dr. Igor Stagljar has developed an inexpensive test to detect COVID-19 antibodies in less than an hour using one drop of blood and the enzyme that gives fireflies their glow.

Quality control in SARS-CoV-2 sequencing

April 1, 2021

As scientists across Canada race to track the spread and evolution of COVID-19 through virus sequencing, software developed by Dr. Jared Simpson’s research team is enabling quality control of the samples being tested. We're proud to be working with Dr. Simpson through our ONCoV Genomics Coalition. Check out his Q&A with Genome Canada's CanCOGeN.

Long COVID: What do we know?

April 1, 2021

As the fight continues to reduce the number of new COVID-19 cases, health professionals and researchers are also exploring the long-term effects of this debilitating disease and why some people experience symptoms for a longer period than others. Read this article by Genome Canada to learn more.

Research focus: Bo Wang and machine learning in biomedicine

March 30, 2021

Dr. Bo Wang, Univerity of Toronto, makes clear is that AI is no magic bullet and is far from perfect. Although it can aid analysis and decision-making in an era of data overload, it can only be truly of value if computer scientists, clinicians, and biological researchers work together to find solutions.

Genome Canada announces new Canadian SARS-CoV-2 Data Portal

March 23, 2021

Genome Canada, in partnership with the Government of Canada, is pleased to announce the development of a new Canadian SARS-CoV-2 Data Portal that will manage and facilitate data sharing of viral genome sequences among Canadian public health labs, researchers and other groups interested in accessing the data for research and innovation purposes.

How COVID-19 Spread in Canada

March 17, 2021

Dr. Allison McGeer, iInfectious disease physician and senior clinician scientist at the Sinai Health System, interviewed on TVO's The Agenda. One year anniversary from the global spread of the novel coronavirus and Canada's response.

Canadore College joins Ontario’s effort to identify COVID-19 variants

Marchy 16, 2021

“It is phenomenal to see such quick capacity building at Canadore College to support our province-wide efforts for increased sequencing to identify COVID-19 variants of concern,” said Bettina Hamelin, president and CEO of Ontario Genomics. “These training opportunities are essential for a sustainable pandemic response that reaches all parts of Ontario. Colleges like Canadore have a real opportunity to become the biotech training hubs we need right now and for decades to come.”

NPC Podcast – The Future of Genomics and Life Sci in Canada

Marchy 3, 2021

In the fifth episode of the third season of NPC HealthBiz Weekly, Peter Brenders, CEO of the New Brunswick Health Research Foundation, talks with Dr. Bettina Hamelin, President and CEO of Ontario Genomics, about how Canada’s genomics research environment, industry partnerships, and funding have been affected during the pandemic.

Request for Proposals:

Canadian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Data Portal

Genome Canada has requested for proposals to develop a Canadian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Data Portal to enhance the value of sequence data. Application submission deadline: March 3rd, 2021

February 26, 2021

Ontario lab pioneering new COVID-19 test method calls for all positive samples to be checked for variants

This technology developed at LTRI, Mount Sinai Health was not originally intended for COVID-19, but senior investigator Jeff Wrana realized the platform they were using could be pivoted to detect variants with speed and accuracy.

February 4, 2021

Ontario to tap into genomics database

February 3, 2021

“The COVID Cloud Platform is an incredible platform that brings together resources & capacity to enable timely & comprehensive genomic analysis of #SARSCoV2 for our province & our country,” said Bettina Hamelin @ONGenomicsCEO , whose team leads the #ONCoV Genomics Coalition.

Vaccines, boosters, sequencing: What we know about the fight against COVID-19 variants

January 27, 2021

Genomic sequencing will be key in determining the prevalence of new, more transmissible variants of COVID-19 in Canada, experts say. Dr. Samira Mubareka, a microbiologist at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre and a member of our ONCoV Genomics coalition, weighed in on the importance of genome sequencing in understanding which mutations are showing up and figuring out what they do.

Using genome sequencing to track the new COVID-19 strain

January 26, 2021

In this video, Dr. Catalina Lopez-Correa, lead of the Canada-wide CanCOGeN initiative discusses the role of genomics in understanding and controlling new strains of COVID-19.

The CanCOGeN Detective Agency

January 25, 2021

Genomics sequencing is being used in Canada and around the world to help understand, control, and track SARS-CoV-2. Like any other organism, each variant of SARS-CoV-2 has a unique genetic code and if we can keep tabs on those variants and share the information, public health officials and researchers around the world will be able to study the mutations, see how fast they spread, and determine whether they cause more serious symptoms in people who get sick with COVID-19. To coordinate the effort, Genome Canada heads the Canadian COVID Genomics Network (CanCOGeN). Catalina Lopez-Correa, Executive Director of CanCOGeN, in this podcast shared the progress CanCOGeN is making in its genomic detective work and how it can be used to manage the pandemic.

If dangerous COVID variants were spreading widely in Ontario, would we know? Why scientists are worried

January 24, 2021

With increasing reports of new, more dangerous COVID-19 variants in Ontario, experts say the province urgently needs more genomic sequencing, faster results, and policies that stifle the virus’s opportunities to evolve — a situation reminiscent of the earliest days of the pandemic, when the disease outstripped our ability to track and control it. Read on to learn more about what Dr. Samira Mubareka, a microbiologist at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre and a member of our ONCoV Genomics coalition, about sequencing SARS-CoV-2 viral genomes.

COVID-19 variants could be spreading across Canada. Are labs doing enough to detect them?

January 22, 2021

The executive director of the Canadian COVID-19 Genomics Network (CanCOGeN), Dr. Catalina Lopez-Correa and associate professor of Biochemistry at McMaster University, Dr. Andrew McArthur spoke to Global News. They discussed the raging COVID-19 pandemic, Canadian efforts, and how genomic sequencing is the key to solving the coronavirus problem.

Genomic epidemiological analyses of the novel coronavirus using Nextstrain tools on Ontario-focused samples

January 17, 2021

Dr. Andrew McArthur of McMaster University, Dr. Finlay McGuire, an infectious disease epidemiology expert, and their teams have been collaboratively performing genomic analyses on SARS-CoV-2 data shared by GISIAD. Using Nextstrain tools, they have published Ontario-focused genomic evolutionary findings of the novel coronavirus as a part of ONCoV efforts.

Nextstrain analysed global open SARS-CoV-2 genomic and sequencing resources

December 15, 2020

Around the world, people are sequencing and sharing SARS-CoV-2 genomic data. The Nextstrain team analyzes these data on a global and continental level. More specific analysis are often performed by groups around the world. This page lists publicly available SARS-CoV-2 analyses that use Nextstrain from groups all over the world. In addition to exploring SARS-CoV-2 evolution in finished analyses, you can use our new Nextclade tool to compare your sequences to the SARS-CoV-2 reference sequence, assign them to clades, and see where they fall on a the SARS-CoV-2 tree.

Consortium Secures $5M to Expand Genomics Platform for COVID Research

December 1, 2020

A national consortium led by DNAstack will expand development of a software platform for genomics and health data and apply it to COVID-19. The $5.1M project, called COVID Cloud, is co-funded by Canada’s Digital Technology Supercluster and aims to increase Canada’s capacity to harness exponentially growing volumes of genomics and biomedical data to advance precision health.

McMaster researchers awarded $1.475M to further investigate COVID-19

November 6, 2020

A team of McMaster researchers has been awarded $1.475M from the federal government to further investigate COVID-19. Overall, the fund will provide close to $28M for 79 projects at 52 universities, research hospitals, colleges, polytechnics and Cégeps across Canada

A closer look at Canada's homegrown COVID-19 vaccine candidates

Scientists across Canada are using a range of technologies, from more traditional protein subunit vaccines to newer technologies such as replicating viral vector and DNA vaccines to produce immunity against SARS-CoV-2.

October 19, 2020

Coronavirus antibodies last at least three months after infection, study suggests

October 8, 2020

Key members of the ONCoV Genomics Coalition, Samira Mubareka and Andrew McArthur conducted a collaborative study that shows antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 can be detected in serum and saliva for > 3 months post-symptom onset. This research may be useful in monitoring immune responses in individuals & therefore, vaccine development.

Infectious disease expert urges public to trust the science

October 8, 2020

Kingston’s top infectious disease expert is asking the public to start trusting COVID-19-related science and the statistics. “We started off way back in the winter and spring with precautionary principles around a lot of things. Now we’ve learned lots and lots about the virus, so we can now apply evidence,” Dr. Gerald Evans, medical director of infection control at Kingston Health Sciences Centre.

Songbird flying high with Health Canada approval of double biomarker COVID-19 test device

October 2, 2020

Health Canada has approved a portable COVID-19 test kit which began as a testing regime for identifying pathogens, microbes and viruses in the European food and natural products industry. The Hyris Bcube developed by Guelph, Ontario-based Songbird Life Science Inc., in partnership with London, U.K.’s Hyris Ltd., is described as a portable DNA-based “laboratory in a box” for coronavirus testing in large urban spaces as well as more remote, indigenous communities in Canada’s north.

Canada's Bio-Revolution 2020 Webinar Series. "Editing our Economic Future: The Power of CRISPR”

September 28, 2020

A conversation between Gairdner Foundation laureates and leading Canadian researchers on using the opportunities and applications of gene editing, specifically by using CRISPR/Cas9, to transform multiple sectors, from therapeutics to diagnostics, agriculture, and low carbon manufacturing, all of which have a profound impact on our economy.

How Biotech is Changing the Way We Make Stuff

September 24, 2020

Dr. Bettina Hamelin, President & CEO, Ontario Genomics, discusses how increased federal funding for engineering biology could give Canada an edge on innovative manufacturing initiatives to spur economic recovery & create homegrown jobs.

Government of Canada: Policy Statement on Research Security and COVID-19

September 14, 2020

The Government of Canada is encouraging all members of the research ecosystem to be aware of the potential risks to their work and asking them to take appropriate measures to protect their knowledge creation and innovations, all while maintaining a strong commitment to Open Science and support for a global research response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Predicting the recombination potential of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 and Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus

Key members of the ONCoV Genomics Coalition, Samira Mubareka and Andrew McArthur conducted a collaborative study analyzing and predicting the recombination potential of SARS-CoV-2 and the Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus.

September 9, 2020

A Comparison of Whole Genome Sequencing of SARS-CoV-2 Using Amplicon-Based Sequencing, Random Hexamers, and Bait Capture

Three key members of the ONCoV Genomics Coalition, Bo Wang, Andrew McArthur, and Samira Mubareka conducted a study analyzing different genomic sequencing methods to understand which protocol works better for sequencing SARS-CoV-2.

August 17, 2020

ONCoV members funded through phase 2 of Ontario’s COVID-19 Rapid Research Fund

July 29, 2020

The Ontario Government announced phase two of funding for a number of research projects aimed at fighting COVID-19. The projects are a part of $20 million in funding that the Government has put towards the Ontario COVID-19 Rapid Research Fund, which focuses on research into “vaccine development, diagnostics, drug trials and development, and social sciences.”

Genetic detectives begin work to trace spread of COVID-19 in Canada

July 12, 2020

“Knowing how the virus spread will show where there were weaknesses in public health measures early on”, said Dr. Andrew McArthur, Director, biomedical discovery & commercialization at McMaster University and a key member of the ONCoV Genomics Coalition.

McMaster researcher traces spread of COVID-19 in Canada

July 12, 2020

One of the key members of the ONCoV Genomics Coalition Dr. Andrew McArthur, Director, biomedical discovery & commercialization at McMaster University is working on deducing how we tackled the COVID-19 pandemic and and what we can do to improve our response in future pandemics.

A simple protein-based SARS-CoV-2 surrogate neutralization assay

July 11, 2020

With the pandemic surpassing 12M confirmed cases & 550K deaths worldwide (by July 11, 2020), defining key components of immune response to SARS-CoV-2 is critical. Members of ONCoV Genomics Coalition Allison McGeer & Samira Mubareka are a part of the research team.

Genomics in the battle against COVID-19

June 1, 2020

Genomics plays an important role in COVID-19 research, from detecting infections and understanding how the virus mutates, to tracking these mutations and developing vaccines and treatments. Watch our two animated videos: On the Trail of Covid-19The Race for a Cure

Understanding a Disease – COVID-19 and Genomics Canada Podcast

June 1, 2020

COVID-19 is a virus that impacts different individuals in similar ways. In this podcast, Dr. Bettina Hamelin, President & CEO of Ontario Genomics and Dr. Rob Annan, President & CEO of Genome Canada explore the scientific aspects of COVID-19 dynamics and how it affects individuals.

Hospital News: Dr. Samira Mubareka - It’s all in the genome: Preparing for the next waves of COVID-19

May 28, 2020

On January 24th, Sunnybrook Health Sciences admitted the first Canadian patient with COVID-19. The traveller had just returned from Wuhan, China, the epicentre of the virus outbreak. He presented with a respiratory illness due to SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. At that moment I realized this virus would come to dominate our reality, both at Sunnybrook and across Canada.

COVID-19 Research: Genomics, Rapid Execution & Funding featuring Samira Mubareka

Ontario’s infectious disease expert speaks about her COVID-19 research in an interview with TheFuturEconomy.ca. Leading Sunnybrook’s Coronavirus response, her work on isolating & understanding the virus is helping roll out rapid research efforts.

April 27, 2020

Genome Canada leads $40 million genomics initiative to address COVID-19 pandemic

Important new pan-Canadian Genomics partnership with $40M investment – CanCOGeN, a multi-pronged national approach to harnessing robust genomic solutions to meet the COVID-19 challenge head-on.

April 23, 2020

Canadian bioscience firm says it’s approved for production of rapid COVID-19 testing device

Ontario-made rapid COVID-19 genomics technology from Spartan Bio received approval for frontline use. This quick and portable innovation significantly expands Canada’s testing capacity.

April 12, 2020

April 5, 2021

WATCH: COVID-19 variants of concern

April 13, 2021

Dr. Andrew McArthur, a leading expert on genome sequencing who runs a lab dedicated to genomic surveillance of infectious pathogens, is on the front lines of variant detection, creating computer models and software to gather data on new and possibly more infectious variants. In the following expert video, McArthur explains what COVID-19 variants of concern are what we need to do to protect against mutations of the virus. We're proud to be working with him on our ONCoV Genomics Coalition, Ontario’s COVID-19 Genomics Rapid Response Coalition.

© 2020 by Ontario Genomics