Three Nova Scotia health research leaders appointed to national COVID-19 Immunity Task Force Leadership Group

Three Nova Scotia health research leaders have been appointed to the national COVID-19 Immunity Task Force Leadership Group.

Dr. Gail Tomblin Murphy, VP Research & Innovation, Nova Scotia Health Authority (NSHA), Dr. Susan Kirkland, Chief of Community Health and Epidemiology, NSHA and Dalhousie University and Dr. Scott Halperin, director of the Canadian Center for Vaccinology, a partnership of Dalhousie, IWK Health Centre and NSHA have all been named to the task force leadership group.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced on April 23rd the establishment of the COVID-19 Immunity Task Force Leadership Group as part of a broader announcement of new federal investments in research and innovation. 

The primary mission of the task force is to harness the power of COVID-19 antibody blood tests to identify and map those who have had previous infection/exposure to the virus and therefore potential immunity. This essential population-based evidence will inform critical decision-making and policy development as our governments guide us through a safe re-opening strategy and later an immunization matrix to prioritize groups at risk.

“Joining this task force is a privilege and opportunity to bring forward the voice of Nova Scotia healthc are research and innovation to this critical discussion,” said Dr. Tomblin Murphy. “Building on the wealth of experience, knowledge and resources from across health care, government, and academic leadership teams, we are able to leverage our collective expertise for a Canadian solution. This coordinated approach will ensure that we have the agility and insight to respond quickly with research-informed results for federal, provincial and territorial decision-makers.”

Drs. Tomblin Murphy, Kirkland and Halperin will work with other scientific leaders from across Canada, over the next two years, to establish priorities and oversee the execution of an ambitious program of nation-wide serological studies. (Detailed bios of all members are available at the above link).

“I applaud members of our research community who have demonstrated tremendous leadership through the formation of partnerships and networks to facilitate world-class COVID-19 research here in Nova Scotia,” said Dr. Brendan Carr, CEO, NSHA. “It is this leadership and expertise that positions our Nova Scotia research community as vital contributors who will help inform COVID-19 national research in order to achieve the best health outcomes for all Canadians.”

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