Video: Dr. Jason Kindrachuk's COVID-19 research at VIDO

Dec 17, 2020

Video transcript: 

I am Dr Jason Kindrachuck, I am a PhD and an assistant professor and Canada research chair in emerging viruses at the University of Manitoba in the department of Medical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases. My role here is to basically bring expertise on emerging viruses and COVID research to basically augment what is already here at VIDO.

It is somewhat of a homecoming for me. I grew up in Saskatoon, I did all of my undergraduate research here and I did actually my PhD research with Dr. Scott Napper here at VIDO, and really what I want to be able to do is to essentially provide my expertise and my knowledge and understanding of working with these viruses and working in high containment to do everything we can to augment Canada’s response to this pandemic.

We’re in a situation when we have a brand-new virus, we have no pre-existing immunity, we have no vaccine, we have no therapeutics. But this is an opportunity for me through my research to try and provide back to the community in terms of understanding what this virus does and how it does it.

My main interest in basically emerging viruses and high containment viruses is really trying to understand how what we see clinically translates to what happens within our cells. How do viruses get into our cells, subvert our immune system and change around the responses in our cells such that they are able to basically create more and more copies of themselves and essentially produce the devastating diseases that we see. Whether it is something like COVID, or something like Ebola or high path influenza. Ultimately what we hope is through this information that we may be able to actually identify not only the mechanisms through with viruses basically cause the diseases that they do, but also we are hoping that we can identify new therapeutics for patients that are suffering from these severe and debilitating diseases.

When I look at VIDO I see it as basically being a pandemic research centre for Canada—I think that its overtaken that role, the facility is world-class. So when you look at what we have here in terms of not only the expertise, but also the types of equipment that we have and then the capacity to be able to do these very large-scale experiments and investigations all under the auspice of COVID it’s second to none. So for me, it’s just such a unique opportunity to be here.