British Columbia

Feds investing $175 million in Vancouver company studying COVID-19

The federal government is investing millions to boost online access to health services and to support a Vancouver biological company's research into treatment and prevention of COVID-19.

AbCellera Biologics studying antibodies that could be used to create a treatment

Caitlin Pritchard, research scientist at AbCellera, is pictured in their lab in Vancouver, British Columbia on Thursday, March 12, 2020. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

The federal government is investing millions to boost online access to health services and to support a Vancouver biological company's research into treatment and prevention of COVID-19.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the new funding during his daily news conference in Ottawa this morning as provinces across the country prepare to start re-opening on Monday.

The government is spending $240 million to boost access to online health services, including mental-health support and virtual access to doctors for primary care.

Ottawa is also providing $175 million to AbCellera Biologics Inc., which Trudeau says has shown promising signs of progress in identifying antibodies that could be used create a treatment for COVID-19.

In March, Ottawa announced that AbCellera was among several companies that will share $192 million under the federal government's new Strategic Innovation Fund's COVID-19 stream.

Vancouver biotech firm AbCellera is looking for a COVID-19 cure. They believe antivirals, like those used to treat HIV, could be the key. 3:04

Answers on virus origins

Trudeau also says Canada will work with its allies to get answers around the spread of the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19 following unsubstantiated reports the virus leaked from a Chinese lab.

But the prime minister insists the immediate focus is on helping Canadians through the pandemic.

Corrections

  • A previous version of this story said AbCellara is studying antibodies that could be used to create a treatment or vaccine for COVID-19. In fact, the company is working on treatment and prevention of the disease.
    May 03, 2020 3:45 PM PT