The fight against future pandemics must be proactive

Instead of playing catch-up with the next virus, precision medicine lets us deal with it swiftly

The fight against future pandemics must be proactiveOn March 17, David Wishart, ’83 BSc (Hons), fielded a call from Medellin, Colombia. A company called Quantrack had a job for him. The novel COVID‑19 coronavirus had its hooks in the country. The Quantrack team figured that if Wishart, a professor of both biology and computing science, could make one of his famous heat…

Inhibitors could lead to new antiviral drugs to treat COVID-19

May be the best option for treating outbreaks in unvaccinated and under-vaccinated populations

Inhibitors could lead to new antiviral drugs to treat COVID-19The rapid development of safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines has been a major step forward in helping bring the pandemic under control. But with the rise of variants and an uneven global distribution of vaccines, COVID-19 is a disease that will have to be managed for some time. Antiviral drugs that target the way the…

COVID-19 culture shock creates a huge social experiment

Life is supposed to get back to normal. So why does it feel like we’re entering the unknown?

COVID-19 culture shock creates a huge social experimentIn March 2020, most of the globe reluctantly embarked on a social experiment. We changed our behaviours in the hopes of slowing the spread of a new virus. We learned what life was like without seeing our friends and families. We prioritized public health above all else. After 16 months, the “new normal” became routine.…

Researchers find possible culprit in COVID-19 deaths

Blood plasma protein galectin-9 linked to ‘cytokine storms’ that damage organs and tissue

Researchers find possible culprit in COVID-19 deathsAs clinical evidence mounts that the leading cause of death in COVID-19 patients is the dangerous condition known as a cytokine storm, University of Alberta researchers have identified a protein in the blood that could be responsible. The team found that COVID-19 patients have significantly elevated levels of a protein called galectin-9 in their blood…

Covid-19 and the rise of the Fearful State

Is it ethical to frighten people for the 'greater good'?

Covid-19 and the rise of the Fearful StateLong before David Attenborough brought his soothing voice to the explication of animal behaviour for the BBC Life series, the North American television public had been introduced to the majesty and oddities of the natural world through Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom. I remember lying on my stomach in my grandparent’s living room watching programs…

Defiant preachers defending our constitutional rights

A new generation of preachers is following in William Penn's footsteps by defending our constitutional freedoms

Defiant preachers defending our constitutional rightsFor the defiant act of holding church services despite public health orders, Alberta pastors James Coates, Tim Stephens and Art Pawlowski were arrested and jailed. Some, including those within the faith, think the pastors should acquiesce to the government edicts. These people forget that it was similar defiance by devout Quaker William Penn that established…

We don’t need mandatory COVID-19 vaccine passports in Canada

The role of government in a democracy isn’t to create barriers to free choice

We don’t need mandatory COVID-19 vaccine passports in CanadaAs parts of the world begin to turn the corner with COVID-19, the discussion related to mandatory COVID-19 vaccine passports has started to intensify. A vaccine passport is a document that confirms an individual’s full immunization against COVID-19. It will contain a proper record of the COVID-19 vaccine doses that a person received and may…

Shunning the unvaccinated just another kind of discrimination

Vaccination passports will restrict the rights of a minority of people to access services

Shunning the unvaccinated just another kind of discriminationBritish Prime Minister Boris Johnson revealed in May that he would establish an agreement on creating a universal vaccine passport system with the G7 countries – including Canada. He told CBC News that nations require “agreements” on “COVID status certification and the rest.” Johnson was referring to how travel and passports will work as the…

Aspirin could help prevent COVID-19 deaths

Common anti-inflammatory drugs could offer safer treatment than current options to help stop worst outcomes due to hyperinflammation

Aspirin could help prevent COVID-19 deathsA University of Alberta pharmacologist is encouraging the trial of common anti-inflammatory medications such as aspirin to treat the most harmful outcomes of COVID-19. Most people infected with SARS-CoV-2 recover without serious symptoms, reported Ayman El-Kadi, professor in the Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, in a recently published academic paper. However, some patients develop inflammation in the…

The lessons we’ve learned from COVID-19 crisis management

We need to cut red tape so we can respond efficiently during times of crisis

The lessons we’ve learned from COVID-19 crisis managementThe pandemic took many countries – governments and their citizens – by surprise. Many weren’t prepared to face such a crisis. Initially, most Western countries refused to panic and wanted to manage the situation like another flu epidemic. But the outbreaks in hospitals and other medical facilities in many countries led to chaos, forcing governments…