A list of current research projects on COVID-19 at UHN
|Researcher||Description of Clinical Research||Opportunities for Collaboration|
|UHN Lead and Co-I: Steven Friedman|
MSH PI: Jennifer Taher Jordan Lerner-Ellis
Genetic Mechanisms Underlying SARS-CoV-2 Infection and the Impact of COVID-19 on Cognitive Function (GenCov)
Overview: Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) is a novel virus that causes CoronaVIrus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). There is considerable variability in symptom severity and outcomes among patients infected by SARS-CoV-2. Linking genome and viral sequencing information to antibody response and other biological information (sex, age, symptom severity, comorbidities, and outcome) can identify characteristics of patients that result in poor and favourable outcomes. This study will address three aims. Aim 1: Identify the characteristics of the antibody response that result in maintained immune response and better patient outcomes. Aim 2: Determine impact of genetic differences on Covid-19 infection severity and immune response. Aim 3: Determine impact of different viral strains on antibody response and patient outcomes.
|Deepali Kumar (PI; Lead: UHN)||RESPECT: A research platform to screen and protect health care workers at UHN|
|Jeff Kwong (Co-I; Lead: Sunnybrook)||Understanding the effects of public health outbreak control policies and implementation on individuals and communities: a path to improving COVID-19 policy effectiveness|
|Patrik Rogalla (PI; Lead: UHN)||Novel diagnostic tools and imaging strategies for early detection and surveillance of COVID-19 in the lung using artificial intelligence||The study team is welcoming scientists to help build the AI model; radiologists for image annotation to establish the best possible ground truth on X-ray, dual-energy X-ray and CT, including thoracic tomograms; and biostatisticians. We also welcome our highly skilled technologists, coordinators and managers who are willing to help with patient recruitment, scanning and guidance. We will share data to support other researchers in our joint effort to develop robust and efficient countermeasures to reduce the impact of COVID19 on our patients, staff and society on the whole.|
|Kevin Kain and Megan Landes (PI; Lead: UHN)||HEROs PrEP study: Pre-exposure prophylaxis with hydroxychloroquine in health care workers|
|Eddy Fan (Regional PI; Lead: University of Queensland)|
ECMOCARD: An international, prospective observational study of COVID-19 patients requiring mechanical ventilation or ECMO
|Steven Friedman (PI; Lead: UHN)||SAVE-CoV Saliva Assay for Viral Examination - SARS-CoV-2: A Pilot Study. This pilot study seeks to assess the sensitivity of saliva testing for SARS-CoV-2 amongst patients who present to a SARS-CoV-2 testing centre with fever or respiratory/viral symptoms of 24 hours duration, and to explore non-inferiority to concurrent nasopharyngeal testing for SARS-CoV-2 virus.|
Surveillance for meningitis/invasive bacterial diseases and related studies in Metropolitan Toronto/Pell/Durham/Hamilton/Halton/Simcoe/York Regions
|Heather Ross (PI; Lead: UHN)||Integrating artificial intelligence in the diagnosis and prognosis of patients with COVID-19|
|Bryan Coburn (Site Lead; Lead: University of British Columbia)||CAnadian Trials for COvid (CATCO)||This study will be recruiting at TGH and TWH. As the case numbers increase, additional research staff for recruitment will be needed. If you have research support that can be reassigned to the pool for CATCO and similar studies, please contact us.|
|Sindhu Johnson (Regoinal Lead; Lead: University of California, San Francisco)||COVID-19 Global Rheumatology Alliance Registry (https://rheum-covid.org/)||This internet-based global registry will capture information about COVID-19 cases among patients with rheumatologic and autoimmune diagnoses. Data will be used to inform efforts aimed at improving treatment of these patients, including management of rheumatic and autoimmune diseases in light of the COVID-19 epidemic; and prevention and treatment of COVID-19 in patients on immunomodulatory medications. If you have these patients and would like to include them in this registry, please contact Dr. Johnson. Our team can to assist with data collection and data entry.|
|Beate Sander (PI; Lead: UHN)||Modeling COVID-19 healthcare resource utilization and capacity constraints (http://www.covid-19-mc.ca/)|
|Chung-Wai Chow (PI; Lead: UHN)||Non-invasive assessment of respiratory dysfunction as a marker of COVID severity and predictor of outcome. Oscillometry is a new diagnostic tool that provides a comprehensive evaluation of respiratory function and detects physiological dysfunction with high sensitivity. The test is done with patients breathing normally and can be completed in less than 3 minutes. Therefore, there is no aerosol generation.|
We would ideally like to enrol patients at time of COVID testing and perform the first oscillometry test at this time and conduct follow-up testing under the following situations: 1. If admitted to hospital (not needing ICU)– repeat testing at time of discharge and subsequent outpatient follow-up when the overall COVID situation renders these activities feasible; 2. If admitted to hospital and needing ICU – repeat testing upon transfer to ward, at time of discharge, and outpt follow-up; and 3. If not requiring hospitalization, outpatient follow-up when feasible. Health care utilization for all participants will be assessed with ISES database. We welcome researchers and collaborators who are interested and can contribute to the overall project.
|Angela Cheung and Margaret Herridge (PIs; Lead: UHN)|
The Canadian COVID-19 Prospective Cohort Study (CANCOV) is the first Canadian study to provide a comprehensive evaluation of early to 1-year outcomes in patients with COVID-19 and their family caregivers. Built on the GEMINI and RECOVER networks, this study is a multi-centre one-year follow-up of COVID-19 patients across the spectrum of illness severity (non-hospitalized, hospitalized non-ICU and hospitalized ICU) in Ontario, Quebec, Alberta and British Columbia. We are a consortium of interdisciplinary investigators and clinicians leading multiple COVID19 studies across Canada. Our research ranges from genomics and multi-omics, antibody testing and immune analyses, to physical and mental health outcomes. Our overall objectives are to better understand the short and long-term outcomes in patients and their caregivers, and the predictors of those outcomes. We aim to fully characterize their genetic and clinical risk factors, functional and neuropsychological status, return to work and pattern and cost of healthcare utilization.
|Anil Chopra (PI; Lead: UHN)||Mixed-methods study to catalogue the experience of emergency physicians for the duration of the pandemic. We will perform a prospective longitudinal survey with Canadian emergency physicians, collecting data on scheduled and unscheduled work hours, illness and COVID-19 infection. This information will be complimented by in-depth qualitative interviews focusing on the experiences of working in the emergency department, changing workload, emotions, stress and coping mechanisms of the physicians. We will develop a conceptual framework which highlights the important challenges faced by emergency physicians during a pandemic. These challenges could be targeted by health policy, hospitals leadership and educationalists to improve future physician pandemic experiences.|
|Shaf Keshavjee (PI; Lead: UHN)||Rapid Diagnostics to Risk-Stratify for Severity of Illness: Reducing the Health Care Resource Burden from COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2)|
|Jordan Feld (PI; Lead: UHN)||Interferon Lambda for Immediate Antiviral therapy at Diagnosis (ILIAD)|
A phase II randomized, open-label, multicenter, trial to evaluate the effect of peginterferon lambda for the treatment of mild-moderate COVID-19 in ambulatory and hospitalized patients.
|Darrell Tan and Sharon Walmsley (PI and Site PI; Lead: St. Michael's Hospital)||COVID-19 Ring-based Prevention trial with Lopinavir/ritonavir (CORIPREV-LR)|
|Steven Chan and Vikas Gupta (PIs; Lead: UHN)||RUX-COVID: A single arm open-label clinical study to investigate the efficacy and safety of RUXolitinib for the treatment of COVID-19 pneumonia||The primary objective of this study is to determine the therapeutic effects of ruxolitinib (an inhibitor of JAK1 and JAK2) on rate and time to clinical recovery in participants with COVID-19 pneumonia. We are in the process of finding collaborators across UHN hospitals, MSH, SMH, and Sunnybrook to recruit patients on this study. Please contact Dr. Chan.|
|Robert Wu (PI; Lead: UHN)||At Home Monitoring using Mobile Devices for Patients with COVID-19||Developing a mobile smartphone/smartwatch application for real time subjective and objective monitoring of people with test positive COVID-19 infection at home and have the results presented in an easy to access dashboard clinicians can use to manage cases and provide care. We will potentially be able to use redeployed staff.|
|Stephanie Lheureux, Mike Milosevic and Ivan Pasic (PIs; Lead: UHN)||A Research Platform to Screen Patients in Oncology and Assess Impact – RESPONSE. RESPONSE is a sub-protocol of the U-DEPLOY: UHN Umbrella Trial DEfining Coordinated Approach to Pandemic TriaLs of COVID-19 and Data Harmonization to Accelerate DiscoverY. Our study will help to assess i) whether patients with cancer can be asymptomatic for COVID-19, ii) whether the viral load is different than other cancer patients, iii) determine the rate of sero-conversion in cancer patients, iv) impact on COVID-19 and outcome and v) study the immune response to viral infection while on active therapy for cancer.|
|Amit Oza (PI; Lead: UHN)||PREPARE-19: PRospective Evaluation of PAndemic Impact in REsponse to COVID-19. The proposed project will assess impact on current and future patient care. This will equip researchers and clinicians with an improved understanding of the impact of this virus, human susceptibilities to this organism, as well as position teams to successfully develop effective countermeasures. These activities will also uncover the very real impact on hospital staff, infrastructure and resources—admissions, admissions to ICU and critically, ventilators—and lay the groundwork for future practice changes as they pertain to curtailing catastrophic impact to the Canadian healthcare system. Importantly, these activities may help develop novel methods of providing health care in times of stress.|
|Amit Oza (PI; Lead: UHN)||U-DEPLOY: UHN Umbrella Trial DEfining Coordinated Approach to Pandemic TriaLs of COVID-19 and Data Harmonization to Accelerate DiscoverY|
The objective of this umbrella protocol is to streamline the approach to the academic investigation of COVID-19 trials across sites and departments at UHN and other centers. The proposed project will establish a novel cross discipline framework to support timely conduct of early phase clinical trials in COVID-19.
|Kate Hanneman (PI; Lead: UHN)||Myocardial Damage Following COVID-19: Multiparametric Cardiac Magnetic Resonance Imaging Based Tissue Characterization|
|Helen Kelly (Site/Regional lead; Lead: Ryerson University)||Measurement of Workload and Care Quality During the COVID-19 Outbreak|
Computer-based simulation, testing and validation in a variety of settings will enable managers to understand/quantify the long term impact of decisions that affect caregivers' work environment and care quality. A pilot model in a surgical setting was developed and tested with nurse participants. It will be extended in this mixed methods research study to include the broader health care team in a surgical and two emergency units during the COVID-19 Pandemic.
|Marc de Perrot (PI; Lead: UHN)||Incidence and outcome of COVID-19 infection in an asbestos-exposed population and development of a risk score based on baseline CT and immune profile.|
|Jennifer Hulme (PI; Lead: UHN)||Mitigating the social and economic implications of COVID-19 containment measures|
This study seeks to identify the unmet non-medical needs of patients with suspected or confirmed COVID-19, and identify barriers and facilitators to self-isolation. We will explore if access to credible information on supports, provided by 211, enables patients to comply with self-isolation recommendations, and if healthcare providers can effectively connect patients utilizing this service.
|External partner: 211|
Collaboration sought with assessment centers throughout the City of Toronto if funded
|David Goldstein (Site/Regional Lead; Lead: University of Liverpool)||Outcomes of elective cancer surgery during the COVID-19 pandemic crisis: an international, multicentre, observational cohort study (CovidSurg-Cancer)|
This study will 1) evaluate the 30-day COVID-19 infection rates in elective cancer surgery during the pandemic, 2) compare the 30-day postoperative mortality rate in cancer surgery patients that develop COVID-19 infection versus those who do not, 3) explore the scale of resource constraints related to the pandemic and their impact on surgery outcomes, 4) explore variation in the selection of patients for continuing elective cancer surgery during the pandemic, 5) evaluate the impact of the pandemic on treatment pathways for cancers with a decision for surgical resection with curative intent
|Santhosh Thyagu (PI; Lead: UHN)||U-Deploy: TOCI-COVID - A single arm, open-label phase II clinical study to investigate the efficacy and safety of Tocilizumab for non-critically ill patients admitted to hospital for the treatment of COVID-19 pneumonitis with biochemical evidence of hyerinflammation and/or leukopenia/Lymphopenia|
|Jonas Mattsson (PI; Lead: UHN)||U-Deploy: DSC-COVID-19: An open-label study on the safety and efficacy of decidual stromal cells in respiratory failure induced by COVID-19|
The primary hypothesis of this study is that decidual stromal cells (DSCs) reduce the mortality of adults with COVID-19 infection admitted to ICU, and are safe after start of treatment as assessed through study procedures. The study will assess the effect of DSC in COVID-19 induced ARDS (acute respiratory distress syndrome).
|Bryan Coburn (Site/Regional Lead; Lead: Sanofi)||Trial of IL6 receptor antibody (sarilumab) in hospitalized patients with COVID-19 requiring oxygen|
|Shahid Husain (PI; Lead: UHN)||U-Deploy: PRESERVE - Pandemic RESponsE biobank for coRonaVirus samplEs|
A COVID-19 Biobank at UHN: a biorepository of biospecimens with the breadth and depth of accompanying clinical data for future research. These types of studies will be critical in developing a better understanding of the disease and establishing new diagnostic tests and therapeutic interventions.
|Lakshmikumar Venkat Raghavan (PI; Lead: UHN)||Perioperative challenges and management of stroke patients in interventional neuroradiological suite during COVID-19 pandemic: A Global Survey|
Timely diagnosis and management of stroke is of paramount importance for optimal patient outcomes. However, the present COVID-19 pandemic imposes various challenges in the management of stroke patients undergoing endovascular thrombectomy. It is imperative that we identify the issues that may impact endovascular management of stroke patients to provide optimal care and improve patient outcomes while maximizing safety of the OR team.
|This is a multinational cross-sectional survey-based research study. This survey will be sent to administrative leadership of various tertiary care hospitals with stroke-neurointervention (approximately 100-150) facilities worldwide. These centres will be identified from the database of various disciplines’ international and national societies. To help identify these national and international centres, please contact Dr. Venkat Raghavan.|
|Isaac Bogoch (PI; Lead: UHN)||Harnessing human mobility and surveillance data for disease forecasting to drive evidence-based public health policy during the COVID-19 epidemic|
|Ania Kielar (PI; Lead: UHN)||Collateral damage: the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on acute abdominal emergency presentations|
The COVID-19 pandemic has been reported to have decreased the number of acute non-COVID related emergency hospital presentations. The government guidelines on social distancing and recommendations to stay at home and generalized anxiety related to COVID appears to have led to an overall decrease in emergency department attendances.
|Jennifer Fratesi (PI; Lead: UHN)||COVID-19 and CT Chest Findings: How good are we at distinguishing COVID-19 from other Mimics?|
COVID-19 is currently a world wide pandemic. We are currently performing thousands of NP swabs and PCR to screen and diagnose for the virus. CT chest is not recommended as a screening tool for all patients, however it has characteristic findings that are being reported in the literature and its use has been recognized at UHN and beyond to expedite care in symptomatic patients with pending or negative swabs and in those developing complications such as ARDS. Some of these findings however overlap with other infectious and non infectious etiologies that mimic the virus (influenza, organizing pneumonia, drug reaction and vaping associated lung injury). The goal of this retroscpective study is to test our ability in radiology to accurately diagnose COVID-19 and determine how often we can be fooled by other mimics. The CT studies’ diagnosis will be correlated with PCR results for COVID-19 and sputum cultures to compare results.
|The study is seeking collaboration with five chest radiologists. Please contact Dr. Fratesi.|
|Researcher||Description of Basic Research||Opportunities for Collaboration|
|Bo Wang (Co-PI; Lead: Sunnybrook)||Genotyping the viral evolution of SARS-CoV-2 via machine learning. The COVID-19 global pandemic is the greatest healthcare challenge of our time. Whole-genome sequencing (WGS) has provided a means to track SARS-CoV-2 viral genome evolution, which has direct implications for vaccine and therapeutic development. The unprecedented research community effort to make COVID-19 related data accessible has resulted in over 2000 publicly available SARS-CoV-2 WGS sequences on GISAID. We sought to analyze these sequences to gain genomic and epidemiological insights, and deliver them through a web-based R-Shiny application - the COVID-19 Genotyping Tool (CGT). CGT not only summarizes complex WGS data through informative visualizations such as UMAP and minimum spanning-tree networks, but also allows for users to upload in-house SARS-CoV-2 genome sequencing data for concurrent analysis with public data. Using CGT with GISAID data, we discovered sequence clusters of mixed and homogenous origin, outbreak hubs in sequence networks, and frequent single-nucleotide polymorphisms in structural protein coding genes of SARS-CoV-2. The CGT application provides a user-friendly interactive platform for genotyping and epidemiological surveillance of SARS-CoV-2.|
|Benjamin Haibe-Kains (PI; Lead: UHN)||Characterization of the transcriptional effect of COVD19 infection at the single-cell level for precision drug repurposing|
The human 2019 novel coronavirus (known as 2019-nCoV or SARS-CoV-2) leads global epidemics with high morbidity and mortality. However, there are currently no effective drugs targeting SARS-CoV-2. Although the characterization of the virus transduction and its translated proteins is improving at a fast rate, there is still no established therapeutics to effectively treat infected patients and potentially reduce its propagation. In this project, we propose to leverage recent advances in single-cell RNA-sequencing, pharmacogenomics and machine learning to identify potential therapeutics based on the existing portfolio of drugs used to treat a variety of human diseases.
- Register an interventional, observational or biomarker study
The COVID-19 Clinical Research Committee (CCRC) comprises leaders from across the clinical research enterprise and our research support service teams. This committee will be responsible for the following:
- Providing peer-review of prospective interventional, observational or biomarker COVID-19 studies to ensure consistency
- Assessing the impact of the proposed studies on patients, institutional workflows and resource constraints in the context of a global pandemic
- Establishing a Drug Safety Oversight Board and ensuring regulatory compliance
- Prioritizing studies to reduce duplication, promote coordination of site-level activities and enhance team science
All new interventional, observational or biomarker COVID-19 studies are required to be reviewed by the CCRC through the following process:
- Prior to initiating a CAPCR application, please complete this form (note: document will auto-download)
- Submit the completed form to COVID-19ClinicalResearchCommittee@uhn.ca
- Your application will be reviewed by the CCRC, and comments will be returned to you within one week
- If the study is prioritized, you will be invited to initiate a CAPCR application and proceed with the standard process to obtain Institutional Authorization.
If you have any quesionts about this process, please contact COVID-19ClinicalResearchCommittee@uhn.caCCRC Membership:
- Phyllis Billia
- Bryan Coburn (Co-Chair)
- Peter Cram
- Pam Degendorfer
- Lorenzo del Sorbo
- Mike Farkouh
- Niall Ferguson
- John Granton
- Kevin Kain
- Megan Landes
- Paul MacPherson
- Amit Oza (Co-Chair)
- Katie Roposa
- Franco Rossetto
- Sharon Walmsley
- Register a non-trial study
To register a basic science or retrospective study (i.e., not an interventional, observational or biomarker clinical research study), please complete this form (requires a Microsoft O365 account). Your study will be listed on the internal and external UHN Research websites to promote team science.
The following UHN Research & Innovation Cores are available to support your COVID-19 Research. Click on individual buttons below to learn more:
These state-of-the-art facilities contain high performance scientific instruments and equipment led by teams with the necessary expertise and resources to assist in research activities and contribute to the global fight against COVID-19.