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UBC-Providence scientists join forces with WestJet and YVR for COVID-19 Testing Study
Over the last two decades, clinician-scientist Dr. Don Sin has spent his days doing research on chronic obstructive pulmonary disease while also caring with patients with the debilitating disease.
Then COVID-19 hit.
Along with scientists around the world, Sin and his research team quickly pivoted their research to address the pandemic. Fortunately, the vast body of knowledge they had spent years uncovering about lung disease helped them to rapidly determine how the novel coronavirus—which can also cause lung complications such as pneumonia—infects humans.
Switching focus to COVID-19
“When it became apparent that this pandemic was not going to be transient, like swine flu, we knew we needed to rapidly accelerate research efforts to understand how this virus affects the respiratory tract and to come up with solutions,” says Sin, professor in the UBC faculty of medicine and medicine respiratory physician at Providence Health Care. “Since we had been working with lung tissue and studying certain receptors that cause disease in the lungs, we were able to understand very quickly how the virus also uses particular receptors in the respiratory tract to infect individuals.”
Now, Sin and his co-principal investigator Dr. Marc Romney are lending their research expertise and diagnostic know-how to support the WestJet-YVR COVID-19 Testing Study, a project sponsored by WestJet and Vancouver Airport Authority (YVR). The partnership came about when WestJet and YVR approached UBC and Providence Health Care seeking scientists who could help investigate whether a rapid screening program at YVR is a practical and effective way to contribute to a unified future solution for the global aviation industry.