Battling COVID-19


Toronto COVID-19 Action Fund

Our ultimate goal is to discover a vaccine against COVID-19 in Canada, and I’m bullish that we might just get there. Our Canadian researchers in Winnipeg were the first group in the world to create the Ebola vaccine.

Most recently, University of Toronto and McMaster researchers at Sunnybrook Hospital isolated the virus behind COVID-19. These scientists are developing a suite of tools to control the Coronavirus. They are using whole-genome sequencing technology to help hospitals characterize the virus more efficiently, and to support efforts to track the virus’ spread and evolution.

We have other research priorities, which are much needed to discover countermeasures to reduce the suffering and death rate related to COVID-19. The University of Toronto, in partnership with its affiliated hospitals, has created a Toronto COVID-19 Action Fund of $6,000,000, and we are seeking contributions to increase the size of this fund (target of $10M).  This Fund supports research that renders near-term results (12 months) to positively impact individuals, communities and public health systems. The funds are open to researchers at U of T and across our partner hospitals.

Focus Areas of the Fund

CL3 Facility & Biobank

Given the critical importance of this research to our country and beyond, the University of Toronto has designated the CL3 facility an essential resource and service to the entire Toronto and hospital research community.

The successful isolation, characterization and sequencing of the SARS-CoV-2 virus has been critical to enabling important new research directions. The use of University of Toronto’s Containment Level 3 (CL3) facility is central to supporting this research which includes:

  • Fundamental evaluation of the stability of the virus (i.e. in response to different conditions; surfaces and disinfectants)
  • Development of medical countermeasures for COVID-19 (e.g. development of vaccines, development of SARS-CoV-2 neutralization antibodies; high-throughput screening of anti-viral agents and currently approved drugs for potential repurposing to treat COVID-19
  • Development of COVID-19 diagnostics (e.g. high-throughput, PCR-free diagnostic approaches as alternatives to clinical laboratory testing).

Medical Countermeasures

  • Discovery of Diagnostics, Therapeutics, Vaccines
  • New technologies for clinical management (e.g. ventilators, masks)
  • Rapid production of supplies and critical elements within the supply chain

Public Health Response and Interventions

  • Public health measures, response systems and crisis management
  • Epidemiological and serological surveys
  • Public health modelling with artificial intelligence and machine learning

Social and Policy Countermeasures

  • Social dynamics of disease transmission
  • Logistical issues (e.g., infrastructure, transport, containment)
  • Social and economic implications of containment measures
  • Strategies to address stigma, fear, anxiety and mental health issues

Donating is as Simple as 1, 2, 3


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Questions & Answers

Are there administrative fees to U of T Faculty of Medicine?

100% of donations will go to the respective funds. There are no administrative fees or charges.

Can I donate by wire transfer or stock?

Yes, you can donate by wire transfer or stock and certainly by credit card, and cheques too.

How do I get a Charitable Tax Receipt?

If making a donation online, a tax receipt will be emailed to you immediately. If making a donation by wire transfer, stock or cheque, a tax receipt will be mailed to you shortly after.

Can I direct my donation to one specific challenge?

We will be asking you to share your preferences, if any. However, as this Challenge evolves, priorities will change and we would like for the University of Toronto, Faculty of Medicine team, to ethically prioritize the funds to the most urgent needs in a timely and appropriate manner.

Can I choose which challenge impacts I want to support?

We will be asking you if you have any preferences during your donation registration. Our goal is to place the impact where it’s needed the most given the uncertainty of need during the weeks and months ahead. However, your wishes will be honoured.

What is the governance model that you will be using for this Challenge?

The donation is collected  by the University of Toronto. The governance of the funds is managed by the Dean of Medicine, in consultation with the Dean’s Executive Team. The distribution of the assets will be done in consultation with the Toronto Academic Health Science Network.  See more about this throughout our website.


Our Other Two Challenges

Personal ProtectionHelp Workers

The world is facing a shortage of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) against COVID-19. Masks are especially in demand. We also need more gowns, gloves and shields. As we find sources of all types of PPE through our collective efforts, the Faculty of Medicine at U of T, together with their TAHSN hospitals, will support the ethical distribution of all PPE to the hospitals who need them most.

Safe SanctuariesHelp Doctors

Beyond providing our frontline with masks, we can do more. At the peak of the pandemic, up to 20% of healthcare providers may need to be isolated at any one time, away from their family. Many Residents and Fellows (specialists in training) often have trouble finding a place to self isolate safely. Hence, together with the U of T Faculty of Medicine, we are reaching out to hotel chains to help with critical short-term accommodation.

Contact UsWant more information?

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