NEXT: Key Lines of Inquiry >


To Catalyze a Community
Accelerate Viral Neuro

Our vision is to advance research on how viruses affect the central nervous system. While the current COVID-19 crisis creates urgency for understanding short-term neurological consequences of SARS-CoV-2 infection, our initiative aims to have a longer time horizon to investigate neurological sequelae, as well as involve not only SARS-CoV-2, but also other human coronaviruses, and possibly other viruses with similar pathogenesis. The research will address what may be a major brain health crisis in the years after this pandemic. It will also contribute to the knowledge base around the impact of viruses on neurological health more generally, with potentially important implications for prevalent viral encephalitides and even future viral pandemics.

To achieve our vision, we are bringing together thought leadership from the research community to drive actionable projects where collaboration, co-ordination and investment are needed. As a starting point, we have defined key lines of inquiry along the research continuum from basic to clinical research that are focused on SARS-CoV-2. Canada is well-positioned to lead because of our strength in neuroscience research and our culture of scientific collaboration.

Ultimately, the hope is to arrive at novel, low-cost diagnostic and interventional strategies aimed at addressing viral neuroinvasion and its resultant neurological impact.

“Ultimately, the hope is to arrive at novel, low-cost diagnostic and interventional strategies aimed at addressing viral neuroinvasion and its resultant neurological impact.”


Coordinate and collaborate

Draw attention to the need for a coordinated, collaborative and multi-disciplinary effort t‎o explore and understand how viruses affect the CNS.

Serve as a catalyst

Serve as a catalyst to bring together thought leaders, researchers and clinicians to identify knowledge gaps and corresponding research needs (basic, translational and clinical), as well as to develop a list of well-defined, key lines of inquiry leading to actionable projects

Rally Funding

Drive public and private funding to this area and provide coordination to ensure that we are collectively working towards milestones that have a social impact/public health focus.

Develop interventions

Develop low-cost diagnostic and interventional strategies and thereby accelerate outcomes that benefit people and enhance preparedness for the next global pandemic, if not the current one.

Rocket Health Science


Rocket Science Health (RSH) is a medical device company developing devices for the treatment of central nervous system (CNS) disorders. RSH devices uniquely involve the olfactory region of the nasal cavity which offers direct access to the CNS while mitigating issues posed by the blood-brain barrier (BBB).

VINEx emerged from RSH’s pandemic preparedness social impact priority that was established at the company’s formation more than three years ago. RSH’s particular expertise in the olfactory region well positions the company to focus on viral neuroinvasion potential through the olfactory region, but research discoveries and outcomes are intended to apply to viral neuroinvasion more generally for applicability to ongoing viral outbreaks and future pandemics.

As a social impact priority, any solutions must be practical, low-cost and accessible to a broad population--including vulnerable populations and those in underserved areas. This makes delivery systems and supply chain logistics a forethought, not an afterthought, in the research and development process. To this end, RSH is collaborating with StarFish Medical, Canada’s largest medical device design, development and contract manufacturing company, to ensure that there is a line-of-sight from advances in our understanding of viral neuroinvasion to potential solutions involving drug-delivery and diagnostic, methods and devices.

“To address complex science challenges, we need to convene a diverse community with a common purpose. While research and our understanding of COVID-19 has mainly focused on the impact of this respiratory virus on the lungs, more research is needed to consider the potential impact on the entire human system, including the brain. Canada is a leader in brain research and I am excited to be working with Rocket Science Health to be a catalyst for a collaborative effort that will include neurologists and neuroscientists in the search to understand how COVID-19 and similar viruses may have immediate and longer-term impacts on the brain. I share with Rocket Science Health an entrepreneurial approach and a commitment to having social impact. This initiative will enable us to join our efforts and provide leadership in an area that needs greater coordination and further exploration.”

Inez Jabalpurwala, Global Director, VINEx