The University of Saskatchewan’s (USask) Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization (VIDO) is internationally recognized for its role in vaccine development and is one of Canada’s national science facilities. (Photo: Tom Arban)

Saskatoon hospital foundations offer support to USask’s VIDO

Three of Saskatoon’s hospital foundations have partnered to donate $230,000 in support of Canada’s Centre for Pandemic Research at the University of Saskatchewan’s (USask) Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization (VIDO).

The foundations’ CEOs — Arla Gustafson of the Royal University Hospital Foundation, Brynn Boback-Lane of the Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital Foundation, and Steve Shannon of the Saskatoon City Hospital Foundation — said the donation is meant to honour the hard work of front-line doctors, nurses, medical, support staff and research initiatives across the hospitals and Saskatchewan.

According to the hospital foundations, contributing to research in the search to save lives for future infectious diseases is one way to honour front-line health-care workers while also creating a safer future for everyone.

Dr. Volker Gerdts (DVM), VIDO’s director and CEO, said he is extremely grateful for this generous support from the community.

“This investment in Canada’s Centre for Pandemic Research will help ensure we are prepared for the next emerging infectious disease, so our health-care system hopefully never has to face a pandemic of this magnitude again,” said Gerdts.

The new gift adds to the support received from other private donors and all levels of government to establish VIDO as Canada’s Centre for Pandemic Research. This funding will help expand VIDO’s infrastructure and support research.

With the addition of global scientific leaders and enhanced training, VIDO will be poised to lead Canada’s response to future pandemic threats.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, USask’s VIDO took a national leadership role. The organization is continuing to move forward with clinical trials and announced positive interim Phase 1 results for COVAC-2, one of VIDO’s COVID-19 vaccine candidates, this past summer.