Two researchers of Sainte-Justine will receive$ 6.3 million to study the COVID-19
The canadian Press
MONTREAL – Two researchers at the CHU Sainte-Justine will share in funding of $ 6.3 million to investigate, on the one hand, the usefulness of vitamin D to combat the coronavirus, and on the other, the risk of re-infection among health care workers who have already been infected by the COVID-19.
These grants major granted to doctors Francine M. Ducharme and Caroline Quach-Thanh by the canadian Institutes of health research (CIHR) will enable them to carry out their work in the coming months.
“The COVID is a viral infection (…) but people who are very sick, who go to intensive care, it is because they have an inflammatory reaction out of proportion, it’s called the cytokine storm, recalled dr. Ducharme, who has received an amount of $4.2 million.
“Then the property of high doses of vitamin D may decrease or prevent the disproportionate increase of the inflammatory response could be very interesting.”
Her colleagues, and will undertake, in September, to recruit 2400 health workers to participate in this study which will aim to see if it is possible, with high doses of vitamin D, to prevent an outright infection, or at least reduce the severity of symptoms.
The preliminary results could be announced as early as the month of January.
“If one wants to test it (vitamin D), it is necessary to test it in the context of a randomized clinical trial, in a rigorous way, says dr. Ducharme. But the results and the preliminary analyses that we have had with other viruses are promising, so it’s worth the test. If ever it is effective, it is a drug that does not seem dangerous, and which would be easily available.”
Risk of re-infection
For his part, dr. Quach-Thanh has received an amount of $ 2.1 million to study, in the course of the next year, the risk of re-infection among health care workers.
“The big question that we have right now is, is this a infection the COVID protects us for good or not? a summary of dr. Quach. The only way to know is to follow people.”
What are 735 health care workers who will be recruited to Montreal for the purposes of this study. They submit to blood tests to three months to measure their levels of antibodies, but also cellular immunity.
They will also receive a questionnaire every two weeks to know if they have had symptoms or not. If so, samples will be carried out to see if the virus is present and, if so, whether it is different from the initial virus.
“This is the only time, I would tell you, where I hope we’ll have a second wave, for these people are exposed, has concluded, laughing dr. Quach. Because obviously, if there is no second wave and that they are never reexposed, I will not be able to answer my question.”