The Northern Ontario School of Medicine is hoping to develop a new vaccine for a bacteria that particularly affects the northern community.
Haemophilus influenzae type A, or HIA, can cause serious infection that could lead to permanent disability, brain damage or deafness.
Northwestern Ontario has the second highest number of cases in the country, second only to the Arctic. This bacteria also occurs at a higher rate among First Nations people.
Marina Ulanova, an associate professor at the Northern Ontario School of Medicine, said a lot of the research has focused on communities in the northwest so far, but that will soon expand.
"We're in the process of establishing collaboration with a First Nations community in an area close to Bruce Penisula,” Ulanova said. “First Nations community leaders are really interested. So we're in the process of developing collaboration together so they're involved in our research."
The research is being done in collaboration with the National Research Council of Canada and the National Microbiology Laboratory.