Dr. Gary Kobinger wins prestigious Manning Innovation Award

$100,000 prize for developing antiviral against deadly Ebola Virus Disease

Gary Kobinger.jpg
Photo: Mary McCown

Dr. Gary Kobinger, Director of the Center for Research on Infectious Diseases at Université Laval, and Dr. Qiu Xiangguo of the Public Health Agency of Canada in Winnipeg, are the winners of the prestigious Ernest C. Manning Awards Foundation Principal Innovation Award.

The Ernest C. Manning Awards Foundation recently announced that Dr. Gary Kobinger of Quebec City and his research partner, Dr. Xiangguo Qiu, have won the 2017 Manning Innovation Principal Award for developing ZMapp™, the world’s first Ebola Virus Disease antiviral. The award was presented at the Manning Innovation Symposium held in Toronto on Nov. 30.

The Principal Award is the largest of four prizes that the Ernest C. Manning Foundation awards annually to talented Canadian innovators who are improving the lives of Canadians and others worldwide through their commercialized innovations.

“I hope that awareness of the Manning Innovation Awards will help showcase Canadian innovation and encourage others to follow their dreams,” says Dr. Kobinger. “The inspiration we receive and the opportunity to share knowledge drive the betterment of our environment.”

Dr. Kobinger and Dr. Qiu’s intellectual search to find a treatment against the highly infectious and deadly Ebola virus infection spanned a decade. The largest outbreak occurred from December 2013 to January 2016 when Ebola swept across West Africa, resulting in more than 28,000 cases and more than 11,000 deaths.

ZMapp was first used directly and successfully for compassionate, emergency use in humans when American medical missionaries Kent Brantly and Nancy Writebol were infected with the Ebola virus while in Liberia in July 2014. Following administration of the antiviral, Brantly went from unresponsiveness to taking a shower the following morning. Writebol, whose husband was preparing her funeral, was stabilized and able to travel back to the U.S.

where she completed her treatment with ZMapp. Both fully recovered and are healthy today.

ZMapp is now the model driving the recent explosion of monoclonal antibody therapies against many other infectious agents such as HIV, Lassa, and Marburg, among others.

“Canada’s innovation heroes are among our most valuable natural resources,” says Manning Foundation president Jennifer Diakiw. “By sharing their stories, we hope to inspire others to innovate, and foster a sense of pride in our nation.”

The Ernest C. Manning Awards Foundation was established in 1980 by Alberta Energy Company CEO David Mitchell.

Working with former Alberta premier Ernest C. Manning and others, he built the foundation to recognize and celebrate Canadian innovators of all ages and across all disciplines.

The Foundation has built a national network of 3,000 youth and adult innovators who are leaders in technology, business, engineering, and social innovation advancement. It has awarded innovation prizes to 273 Canadians who have demonstrated innovative talent in developing and successfully marketing a new concept, process or procedure. For more information visit: www.manningawards.ca.