Canada's New Government Invests $2 million to Develop New Drugs to Combat Influenza

    PETERBOROUGH, ON, March 23 /CNW Telbec/ - On behalf of Health Minister
Tony Clement, Dean Del Mastro, Member of Parliament for Peterborough, ON,
today announced that Canada's New Government is investing $2 million to
support research to develop drugs that are effective in combating a pandemic
influenza virus.
    The funding will be provided to the International Consortium on
Antivirals (ICAV), a non-profit Canadian consortium founded to foster
collaboration among experts in the public, private and academic sectors. The
funding will aid in the establishment of the international headquarters for
ICAV in Peterborough at Trent University.
    Antivirals are medications used to treat those who become sick with
influenza and can also be used to prevent illness. At the onset of a pandemic,
when an effective vaccine may not be available, antivirals will be an
important part of the public health response.
    "Canada's New Government is committed to enhancing our capacity to
respond to a public health emergency, including an influenza pandemic," said
Mr. Del Mastro. "Antivirals are one component of our comprehensive,
multi-faceted approach to pandemic planning. This investment in international
research will assist in the development of more effective, low-cost antivirals
that will be an important part of our early response to an influenza
    The International Consortium on Antivirals includes representation from
leading national and international researchers. The goal of the organization
is to rapidly transform world class international research results into low
cost, antiviral drugs with high public health benefits. The ICAV's initial
focus is to develop anti-influenza drugs that have demonstrated early
potential and warrant further investment for eventual production.
    "This $2 million grant over the next two years will allow ICAV to
continue working towards its goal of discovering and developing new
therapeutic interventions for viral infections," said Dr. Jeremy Carver,
ICAV's Chief Executive and Scientific Officer. "Ultimately, we'll leverage the
expertise we develop through our research on antivirals effective against an
influenza pandemic to deliver low-cost antiviral drugs to patients around the
world for diseases such as HIV/AIDS, hepatitis B and C, dengue fever,
rotavirus infection in children and many others."
    "ICAV's close association with our university will have a profound impact
on the Trent community by enriching the educational and research opportunities
for faculty and students while expanding Trent's footprint in the
international arena," said Bonnie M. Patterson, President and Vice-Chancellor,
Trent University. "Trent faculty and students will be introduced to acclaimed
scientists who are developing the antivirals required to respond to the threat
of an influenza pandemic."
    As part of Canada's Pandemic Influenza Plan, a National Antiviral
Stockpile has been established to treat Canadians who will require medical
attention during a pandemic. At the same time, the Government of Canada is
investing in the development of a pandemic influenza vaccine, the most
effective protection against a global outbreak of a new influenza virus.

    Egalement disponible en français

For further information:

For further information: Media Inquiries: Erik Waddell, Office of the
Honourable Tony Clement, Federal Minister of Health, (613) 957-0200; Alain
Desroches, Public Health Agency of Canada, (613) 948-7970

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