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PROJECTS

Dr. Kevin Kain, Professor of Medicine at the University of Toronto and Director of the Tropical Disease Unit for Toronto General Hospital
Dr. Kevin Kain (seen above, far right), Professor of Medicine at the University of Toronto and Director of the Tropical Disease Unit for Toronto General Hospital.

Current and Future Projects

Funding from the GeoSentinel Foundation was instrumental in rapidly addressing two critical challenges in the COVID-19 pandemic.

First, to help develop novel diagnostic tools to determine which patients would more likely have severe outcomes and triage them accordingly. This approach has now been validated in multiple countries and is used by non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in low-resource settings where hospital beds are extremely limited.

Second, since there were no specific treatments or vaccines early in the pandemic, funding from the GeoSentinel Foundation permitted the prompt initiation of trials to determine if any currently available drugs could be repurposed to prevent or treat COVID-19. Foundation funding early in the outbreak enabled the rapid establishment of a multi-site randomized placebo-controlled trial to rigorously test such therapeutics.

COVID-19

The Foundation supported:

  • A public COVID-19 PCR testing site in New York City in the beginning of the pandemic (April 2020) offering same-day results to quickly identify cases, institute isolation and contact tracing, and break the cycle of transmission.
  • Genomic sequencing of positive COVID-19 specimens to identify new and emerging viral variants.
  • The development of a finger-stick test to predict the severity of COVID-19 for individual patients. This non-invasive test helped determine who could recover safely at home and who needed hospitalization.

CLIMATE CHANGE

  • Climate change has led to an increase in mosquito-borne disease. To address this, the Foundation is currently supporting investigations of four serious mosquito-borne diseases: dengue, chikungunya, Zika and malaria.

UKRAINE

  • Together with local partners, the Foundation is addressing the medical shortages in Ukraine by ensuring that hospitals have the supplies they need.

CONTACT

Contact us to learn more about our research work.

“More resources mean more impactful research capable of reducing death, disability and wasted healthcare dollars. For example, we’re now targeting affordable, accessible diagnostic tests that predict the risk severity for fever syndromes, whether it’s COVID, malaria or something else. These tests will identify who needs urgent medical care and who can recover at home, saving incalculable amounts of money and reducing unnecessary exposure to other diseases.

We’re also exploring how inequity starts in utero and just how profoundly infections during the pregnancy window affect a child’s trajectory in life. We can reap decades of benefit by preventing simple infections that alter the hard-wiring of a child’s brain.”

Dr. Kevin Kain
Professor of Medicine at the University of Toronto and Director of the Tropical Disease Unit for Toronto General Hospital