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Dr. Alyson in hazmat suit
$19,361 Raised

Support Research to help Saskatchewan breathe easier

To say that COVID-19 has changed our world would be an understatement. The virus has affected virtually every aspect of our lives. It has altered how we work, experience school, conduct business, play, and interact with one another.

As the virus continues to take a heavy toll on the world, it has also been discovered that some people continue to experience prolonged symptoms weeks after recovering from COVID-19. This condition has been termed long COVID; some symptoms include shortness of breath, neurological issues, vision problems, fatigue, and headaches.

“I tested positive for COVID-19 in January 2021 and three months after that I was not still feeling well. I experienced a wide variety of symptoms ranging from dizziness, extreme fatigue, confusion, heart palpitation, shortness of breath to memory impairment, nausea, and dehydration. The symptoms are so bizarre and unpredictable; it changes from week to week.” - Cindy McLean (Watrous)

Long COVID can happen to anyone

Dr. Alyson Kelvin in corporate wear posing for a pictureIn 2021, my nine-year-old nephew developed COVID-19 from an outbreak in his class that led to approximately 30 people being infected. He had the alpha variant and his clinical course of short-term COVID-19 was very typical for someone of his age. He did not have a cough but had a slight runny nose and a low grade, mild fever for a day and then he was back to normal. Unfortunately, about eight weeks later, he started having vision problems and those have continued to this day. 

Through his experience, it occurred to me that even children can get long COVID; we think COVID-19 is mild in children, but there are long-term effects that they can experience. Also, even if you had a mild course of COVID-19, you can still develop long COVID.  My nephew’s experience is absolutely frightening for him as the vision problems happen all of a sudden and he is not able to focus on objects. It is now nine months past his recovery from COVID-19 and he continues to experience vision problems to this day.

An app to improve the lives of people suffering from long COVID in Saskatchewan

It breaks my heart to see people continue to suffer and not able to live their lives normally. As a researcher focused on emerging respiratory viruses, my research program is centered on people who might be more vulnerable to these viruses, how they are developing some severe diseases, and how I can develop a better vaccine to protect them.

“These lingering symptoms continued for about 13 months and affected almost every aspect of my life. I had a seven-year-old child that I could not properly take care of, I did not feel safe driving for months and I am still not working at full capacity.” - Cindy McLean (Watrous)

These concerns led me to connect with clinical researchers working on respiratory diseases in Saskatchewan and we came up with the idea of developing an app that will help people with long COVID in Saskatchewan. 

The Sask Long COVID research project will provide an opportunity for people suffering from long COVID to report their cases and any symptoms they may have or are currently experiencing. Through this research, we hope to have an understanding of how many people are being affected by long COVID in Saskatchewan. It will also provide data needed to develop the required support systems and resources to help people recover from long COVID.  

Collaboration with Lung Sask

COVID-19 is a respiratory disease that affects the lungs, and lungs are essential for breathing. The collaboration with Lung Sask is very important because they focus on improving lung health in Saskatchewan and they will help share the findings of the research among their many networks in meaningful ways for this project.

As scientists and clinical researchers, we are able to collect reliable data, but we have not been able to connect the data with the people who are suffering from the disease and the therapies that we might identify to help these patients. Lung Sask will help us get people to participate in the survey and communicate our results to patients and other people who find this work important. 

The Sask Long COVID research project will provide an opportunity for people suffering from long COVID to report their cases and any symptoms they may have or are currently experiencing. Through this research, we hope to have an understanding of how many people are being affected by long COVID in Saskatchewan. It will also provide data needed to develop the required support systems and resources to help people recover from long COVID. 

“My doctor said I have the lungs of a 50-year-old now. I got the Prevnar vaccine for pneumonia and will look at the shingles vaccine to help protect myself. I hope my lungs get better but I’m learning to live with my condition.” – Matthew Cardinal (Regina)

Join us to help Saskatchewan breathe easier

We’ve been through so much with this pandemic already and as we gradually start getting back to normal, my biggest worry is that people are still plagued with the continuing symptoms of long COVID. Many people are dealing with shortness of breath, low energy levels, depression, neurological issues, and these challenging symptoms will keep them from getting back to what we hope is normal life. 

With your generous donation, Lung Sask will continue to work towards improving lung health in Saskatchewan. As a key partner on this project, Lung Sask can represent long COVID patients and support the research team in developing effective treatment programs for these patients.

Thank you for supporting our cause to help people suffering from long COVID in Saskatchewan.
 

Yours Sincerely,

Dr. Alyson Kelvin

 

P.S: Volunteers with various COVID-19 experiences are needed for the long COVID research. Visit  SaskLongCovid.com to learn more about this project and how you can become involved in the study.

Dr. Alyson Ann Kelvin, PhD is a virologist and vaccinologist at the Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization in Saskatoon, SK. She holds an adjunct Professorship with the Department of Biochemistry, Microbiology, and Immunology and the University of Saskatchewan. Her research focuses on the diseases caused by emerging respiratory viruses and the design of vaccines to prevent emerging virus infection. Specifically, she studies the long-term effects of infection with viruses such as SARS-CoV-2 and influenza on the body and specifically the immune system’s memory.

The multidisciplinary team working on this app with Dr. Kelvin includes; Dr. Donna Goodridge - Professor in the Division of Respirology, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine; Dr. Gary Groot - Professor and clinician-scientist in the Departments of Surgery and Community Health and Epidemiology; Dr. Nathaniel Osgood - Professor in the Department of Computer Science and Dr. Josh Lawson - Professor in the Department of Medicine all from the University of Saskatchewan.