Sex as a Biological Variable Supplement: COVID-19

The Sex as a Biological Variable Supplement: COVID-19 funding opportunity is part of the Government of Canada's continued rapid response to address the health challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Institute of Gender and Health will provide supplementary funding to Nominated Principal Investigators who were funded through the Operating Grant: Canadian 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Rapid Research Funding Opportunity for research that investigates potential molecular and cellular mechanisms underpinning observed sex differences in SARS-CoV-2 viral pathogenesis and its associated immune response.

Funds Available

The maximum amount per grant that can be requested is $50,000 over 1 year.


This supplement builds on the objectives of the first Operating Grant: Canadian 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Rapid Research Funding Opportunity with a specific focus on:

  • Uncovering novel molecular and cellular mechanisms that contribute to the sex differences observed in COVID-19 severity.

Read a full list of awardees and their project abstracts.


Neutralizing human-derived single-chain antibodies against SARS-CoV-2
Principal Investigator:
Horacio Bach, University of British Columbia

Shutting down emerging Coronaviruses in humans now and in the future
Principal Investigators:
Stephen D Barr, Eric J Arts, Chil Yong Kang, Ryan Troyer, University of Western Ontario

Innovative therapeutic approaches for the 2019-novel coronavirus
Principal Investigators:
Guy Boivin, Sheng-Xiang Lin, Université Laval

Augmented Discovery of Potential Inhibitors of SARS-CoV-2 3CL Protease
Principal Investigator:
Artem Cherkasov, University of British Columbia

Drug repurposing for the rapid development and evaluation of SARS-CoV-2 antivirals
Principal Investigators:
Marceline Côté, Patrick M Giguere, Darwyn Kobasa, University of Ottawa

Animal models for SARS-CoV-2: vaccines and immune enhancement
Principal Investigator:
Darryl Falzarano, University of Saskatchewan

Host cellular protein substrates of SARS-CoV-2 proteases
Principal Investigator:
Eric Jan, University of British Columbia

Identification of biomarkers that predict severity of COVID-19 patients
Principal Investigators:
David J Kelvin, Melissa K Andrew, Alyson A Kelvin, Jean S Marshall, Shelly A Mcneil, Dalhousie University

Reducing the Health Care Resource Burden from COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2): Rapid Diagnostics to Risk-Stratify for Severity of Illness
Principal Investigator:
Shaf Keshavjee, University Health Network

Preventing SARS-CoV-2 infection by targeting human type II transmembrane serine protease activity
Principal Investigator:
Richard Leduc, Université de Sherbrooke

Understand the high pathogenicity and zoonotic transmission of the COVID-19 virus: evasion of host innate immune responses
Principal Investigator:
Chen Liang, CIUSSS de Centre-Ouest-de-l'Ile-de-Montréal-Jewish General

Rapid Response to Emerging Serious Pathogen Outbreaks using Next-gen Data: R2ESPOND
Principal Investigators:
Natalie Anne Prystajecky, Mel Krajden, University of British Columbia

Host Response Mediators in Coronavirus (COVID-19) Infection
Principal Investigator:
James A Russell, University of British Columbia

Molecular and cellular therapies against COVID-19 using angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2)
Principal Investigators:
Haibo Zhang, Ali Mirazimi, Josef Penninger, Arthur S Slutsky, Unity Health Toronto

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