Local companies and institutions are part of the global effort against the novel coronavirus. Since the start of the health crisis, the Government of Canada has been evaluating many potential COVID-19 treatment options. The first trials were authorized on March 18, 2020. Among the 12 institutions across the country that are currently working on vaccines, four Quebec-based entities are beginning Health Canada-approved clinical trials.
One of the first Quebec universities to receive Canadian government approval to work on a COVID-19 treatment was the University of Sherbrooke's Research Institute. The scientists there are working on reducing the mortality rate in intensive care patients.
Other institutions include the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre, the Montreal Heart Institute, and Bausch Health Inc.
Sanofi-Aventis, a French company with offices in Laval, is also working on a treatment.
Right now, there are no drugs or vaccines approved to treat the disease that's claimed the lives of 360 Quebecers as of April 13.
Quebec leads the way in terms of testing and has scored high marks on its response to the crisis and its effective social distancing measures.
Despite the high rates of confirmed cases, the mortality rate in Quebec remains low overall, Premier François Legault has stressed.
Experts hope that someone will soon present treatment options for COVID-19 and maybe, one of those treatments will come, in part, from La Belle Province.
Centre de recherche du centre hospitalier universitaire de Sherbrooke
En étroite collaboration avec le @CIUSSSE_CHUS, le laboratoire de simulation clinique a mobilisé ses équipes ainsi que les locaux de simulation haute-fidélité pour soutenir les activités de formation pour le personnel soignant en première ligne. 👏 https://t.co/mCocB5Kd9p
— Université de Sherbrooke (@USherbrooke) April 1, 2020
Researchers at the University of Sherbrooke are working on "LOVIT," a treatment that aims to reduce the "mortality or persistent organ dysfunction at 28 days in septic intensive care unit patients," according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
Using a high dose of Vitamin C, the institute says that the treatment could be potentially lifesaving in sepsis "induced by bacterial and viral pathogens [such] as COVID-19."
Montreal Heart Institute
The Montreal Heart Institute is exploring the potential of colchicine as a potential treatment. The intention of this possible medicine is to reduce "lung complications" related to COVID-19.
6,000 patients will be enrolled in this study and results will be published in September.
Research Institute Of The McGill University Health Centre
The MUHC is evaluating the potential of one of the most hyped treatment possibilities: hydroxychloroquine. The study's objectives are twofold.
First, it will test if hydroxychloroquine can "prevent symptomatic COVID-19 disease after known exposure" to coronavirus.
And finally, to test if "preemptive hydroxychloroquine therapy can prevent disease progression in persons with known symptomatic COVID-19 disease, decreasing hospitalizations and symptom severity."
Bausch Health is working on "Virazole," a treatment that could reduce the severity of COVID-19-related respiratory distress.
"We believe it may be a valuable agent in reducing respiratory distress in adults suffering from COVID-19," said the company's CEO.
#COVID19 - Au Québec, en date du 13 avril 2020 à 13h, la situation est la suivante :
13 557 cas confirmés
118 013 analyses négatives (cas infirmés)
879 personnes hospitalisées
Pour en savoir plus sur la situation au Québec : https://t.co/fiqW5E4y8R
— Santé Québec (@sante_qc) April 13, 2020
On April 10, Premier François Legault said that "in the coming weeks, we will continue to fight and I remain convinced that we will win this battle, together."
"The 8.5 million Quebecers, when united, there is nothing that can stop us."
Stay tuned for more updates on the COVID-19 situation in Quebec.