COVID 19.

WHY IS THIS STUDY IMPORTANT?

COVID-19 has had catastrophic medical and social implications around the world. There is an urgent need to develop effective treatments and deepen our understanding of how and why this virus is so damaging.

Our study evaluates the effectiveness of existing medications and emerging therapies for hospitalized patients infected with COVID-19.

The CO-VIC study also helps us to discover more about the virus itself and how and if patients develop immunity.

Research Team

Lisa Barrett MD PhD FRCPC
Principle Investigator - Professor/Physician of Infectious Disease

NSHA/Dalhousie University
Halifax, NS

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Melissa Andrew MD MSc PhD FRCPC
Professor/Physician of Geriatric Medicine

NSHA/Dalhousie University
Halifax, NS
“COVID-19 can be especially severe for older adults. As a geriatrician, my role with the study team is thinking about frailty and its influence on how people respond to coronavirus infection and treatments.” 

Volodko Bakowsky MD FRCPC
Professor/Physician of Rheumatology

NSHA/Dalhousie University
Halifax, NS
“I am honoured and humbled to be part of such an amazing team.”

Paul Bonnar MD FRCPC
Professor/Physician of Infectious Diseases

NSHA/Dalhousie University
Halifax, NS
“As an infectious disease physician, I am excited to provide my clinical knowledge to help determine effective treatments for COVID-19, and improve our understanding of the immune response to COVID-19.”

Sarah Burgess PharmD BSc (Pharm) ACPR
Clinical Pharmacy Coordinator of Infectious Diseases and Internal Medicine

NSHA
Halifax, NS
“As an infectious diseases clinical pharmacy specialist, I will support the drug information needs for this study. I am excited to provide my clinical knowledge to help determine potential effective treatments for COVID-19.”

 

Ian Davis MD FRCPC
Professor/Physician of Infectious Diseases

NSHA/Dalhousie University
Halifax, NS
“As an Infectious Diseases physician, I feel privileged to be helping Nova Scotians and to be involved in helping to develop effective treatments and ultimately a vaccine.

 

Melanie Di Quinzio MD FRCPC
Professor/Physician of Infectious Diseases

NSHA/Dalhousie University
Kentville, NS

Emily MacAdam MD BScPharm
Physician/PGY2 Resident, Internal Medicine

NSHA/Dalhousie University
Halifax, NS
“As a resident physician and former pharmacist with an interest in Infectious Diseases, I am absolutely thrilled to be part of this treatment study. Working with a great group of people to help Nova Scotians and also better understand this virus is an opportunity of a lifetime.”

Ahmed Ghaly MD MSc FRCPC
Physician of Infectious Diseases

NSHA
Dartmouth, NS

Barbara Goodall MSc
Study coordinator/Research associate, Infectious Diseases

NSHA
Halifax, NS

Robert Green MD DABEM FRCPC FRCP (Edin)
Professor/Physician of Critical Care

NSHA/Dalhousie
Halifax, NS
“Some people who contract COVID-19 become critically ill. As a critical care physician, my role on the study team is thinking about how these patients respond to COVID-19, and to help develop effective treatment options.”

David Haldane MBChB FRCPC
Professor/Physician of Infectious Disease and Medical Microbiology

NSHA/Dalhousie University
Halifax, NS
“As a medical microbiologist, I am excited about contributing to the knowledge about COVID-19, and how we can treat infection caused by this virus.”

 

Todd Hatchette MD FRCPC
Professor/Physician of Infectious Disease and Medical Microbiology

NSHA/Dalhousie University
Halifax, NS
“Testing for COVID-19 in our lab facility has been an integral component of the COVID-19 response in Nova Scotia. As a medical virologist and division chief of microbiology, I am excited to lead the clinical lab based viral testing part of this study.”

Lynn Johnston MD MSc FRCPC
Professor/Physician of Infectious Diseases

NSHA/Dalhousie University
Halifax, NS

David Kelvin PhD MSc
Professor of Microbiology and Immunology

Dalhousie University
Halifax, NS

Chris Lata MD FRCPC
Professor/Physician of Infectious Diseases

NSHA/Dalhousie University
Sydney, NS
“Determining effective treatments and immune therapies will help our patients and increase our understanding of this virus.  Nova Scotia is poised to contribute to improving health care in our province as well as in our country!”

Jason LeBlanc PhD FCCM D(ABMM)
Professor/Clinical Microbiologist

NSHA/Dalhousie University
Halifax, NS
“I am thrilled to be able to provide lab support for the evaluation of novel antiviral treatments and vaccine candidates against COVID-19.”

Osama Loubani MD MSc FRCP DABEM FRCPC
Professor/Physician of Critical Care

NSHA/Dalhousie
Halifax, NS
“It is important to study potential treatment options for COVID-19 to determine if they are effective. As a critical care physician, my role on the study team is thinking about how critically ill patients respond to COVID-19.” 

Shelly McNeil MD FRCPC
Professor/Physician of Infectious Diseases

NSHA/Dalhousie University
Halifax, NS

Brian Moses MD FRCPC
Professor/Physician of General Internal Medicine

NSHA/Dalhousie University
Yarmouth, NS
“As a community internist, I am excited to participate in this study, to help answer the question of optimal management for patients with COVID-19. It will also help form a template for future research opportunities that will bridge the gap between academic and community settings.”

Sharon Oldford PhD
Research Scientist, Microbiology and Immunology

Dalhousie University
Halifax, NS

Tony O’Leary MD MSc FRCA FFICM FRCP (Edin)
Professor/Physician of Critical Care

NSHA/Dalhousie University
Halifax, NS

Glenn Patriquin MD MSc FRCPC
Professor/Physician of Infectious Disease and Medical Microbiology

NSHA/Dalhousie University
Halifax, NS
“I am happy to be participating in CO-VIC study and I am so proud participants from Nova Scotia will have a real impact on knowledge and management of COVID-19!”

Tasha Ramsey PharmD BSc (Pharm) ACPR
Assistant Professor/Clinical Pharmacy Coordinator, Infectious Diseases and Internal Medicine

NSHA/Dalhousie University
Halifax, NS
“As an infectious diseases clinical pharmacy specialist, I am excited to support the drug information needs of the study team relating to our protocol and the care of Nova Scotian patients with COVID-19 in the CO-VIC treatment study”.

Mark Robbins MD MSc FRCPC
Physician/PGY5 Resident, Infectious Diseases

NSHA/Dalhousie University
Halifax, NS
“As an infectious disease resident physician, I am excited to provide clinical knowledge to help determine effective treatments for COVID-19, and better understand the immune response.”

John Sapp MD FRCPC FHRS
Professor/Physician of Cardiology

NSHA/Dalhousie University
Halifax, NS
“I am really happy to be part of the team tackling COVID-19 treatment. We need reliable scientific information to understand how the body reacts to this infection and how to treat it.”

Walter Schlech MD FACP FRCPC
Professor/Physician of Infectious Diseases

NSHA/Dalhousie University
Halifax, NS

Kris Srivatsa MBBS MSPH ABIM
Professor/Physician of General Internal Medicine

NSHA/Dalhousie University
Truro, NS

Karthik Tennankore MD MSc FRCPC
Professor/Physician of Nephrology

NSHA/Dalhousie University
Halifax, NS
 “In some cases of COVID-19, the disease can lead to kidney damage. As a nephrologist, my role on the study team will be to think about kidney disease and how it influences how people respond to COVID-19 and potential treatments.”

George A. Wells PhD MSc
Professor of Epidemiology and Public Health

Ottawa Hospital/University of Ottawa
Ottawa, ON
CO-VIC is an innovative pragmatic study for assessing the effectiveness of treatments for Nova Scotians hospitalized with COVID-19. With its innovative real world point of view comes complexity. As an epidemiologist and biostatistician specializing in the design and execution of clinical studies, my role is to help manage the complex design and analysis of the resulting clinical information on treatment effectiveness.”

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FAQs

  • How do I join the study?

    If a person is admitted to a hospital in Nova Scotia and is COVID-positive, they will be asked if they would like to participate in the study.

  • How likely is it that if I'm in hospital that I can be included?

    Unlike some other studies, CO-VIC is designed to be as inclusive as possible. If it is safe for the patient to participate, they will be offered to be a part of the study. And if it is not safe for the patient to take the medication, they will be able to participate in the immunity discovery.

  • How can I help my hospitalized loved one participate?

    All people who are currently hospitalized at an active study site can ask or have their loved one ask their doctor about joining the study. The best thing a person can do to help a loved one join the study is to be available when the study team calls. You can consult with your loved one in hospital and help them make decisions over the phone, or give consent for them if they are too ill.

  • Where does the study take place?

    The study is currently taking place at six hospitals across Nova Scotia: QEII Health Sciences Centre (Halifax), Dartmouth General Hospital (Dartmouth), Yarmouth Regional Hospital (Yarmouth), Valley Regional Hospital (Kentville), Cape Breton Regional Hospital (Sydney), and Colchester East Hants Health Centre (Truro). Sites may be moved or added as necessary.

  • Will long-term care facilities be included?

    Residents of long-term care facilities will be included if they are hospitalized patients, meet inclusion criteria, and are not opposed to increasing therapy as part of their goals for long-term care.

    Note: This study does not treat people in the recovery phase, so residents recovering in long-term care facilities would not meet criteria.

  • Which medications are you testing?

    Lopinavir/Ritonavir: Originally an HIV medication, we think this could be used to directly shut down the virus. Lopinavir/Ritonavir has been on the market and safely used by humans for over 20 years.

    Hydroxychloroquine: A medication often used in common diseases. We think this could decrease the amount of inflammation in the lungs of COVID-19 patients and limit lung damage, meaning better recovery. Currently, the World Health Organization is examining new information, until they complete their analysis, we will not be using this drug.

    Baricitinib: A newer anti-inflammatory medication that has been on the market in Canada for almost 3 years. This medication ramps down the immune system. We think it could limit or prevent the progression of inflammation in the lungs of COVID-19 patients. This drug is being provided by Eli Lilly.

  • Isn’t Hydroxychloroquine dangerous?

    This medication is used quite commonly in the research community. The FDA issued a warning that was related more closely to Chloroquine, not Hydroxychloroquine. They did say that if Hydroxychloroquine were to be used in the context of a clinical trial, subjects should have a healthy heart rhythm. That is factored into our screening process.

  • Are pharmaceutical companies involved?

    Yes, pharmaceutical companies are involved because some are supplying us with medications, but this is not an industry-sponsored trial. They are not informing how we design or run the trial or what we do with the information. We own the data.

  • What if I don’t want to take medication?

    You can still be part of the study! You can be in the untreated group. We will watch how your immune system responds, and we will also pay close attention to how you are recovering while you are receiving the best care possible within our hospitals.

  • Will there be enough cases of COVID-19 in the next year to fill the study?

    While we wish it were unlikely, it is highly possible that we will have many more cases of COVID-19 over the next year. In fact, a second wave of virus is very possible. However, we also have plans to include other potential sites if there are too few patients in Nova Scotia.

  • How long will the study go on for?

    The study will take place over about 18 months, with enrollment taking place over most of the first year. We’ve already started to enrol people, with a target of 798 patients overall – that number may change over time as the pandemic changes, or as the number of medications we’re testing changes.

  • Could this study lead to a vaccine?

    There are many vaccines being tested and about to be tested. However, we don’t know if they will be effective, or if those infected are immune after infection. This study will help determine these answers and more.

  • Why do we need to learn about immunity to COVID-19?

    The virus that causes COVID-19 is brand new to humans. We do not know if people are protected by their immune system from getting the virus again after they have had it once. We do not know if it is partial or full protection. We also do not understand the role of our immune system in causing the lung damage seen in COVID-19. Therefore, we need to understand the immune system during and after infection and treatment to develop a better strategy to protect people. That’s why we are doing the ‘science’ immune part of the study.

  • Will learning about the immune system help us make different and more effective vaccines?

    We hope so!  To make a really great vaccine, we need to understand the immune response during and after COVID-19. The information we gather on multiple parts of the immune response during and after treatment and infection will help us determine what things do and don’t work well in each person. This information can be shared with people building future vaccines to make smarter choices for the next rounds of vaccines.

  • Why is the design of the COVIC study so important to COVID-19 and to a pandemic?

    The COVIC study is meant to change and adapt to new information as it becomes available, and therefore it provides important and relevant information in the fast moving world of a pandemic. If there are new promising medications that become available, we can consider adding them to the study.

    Clearly, it is important to get as much information as quickly as possible in a pandemic. We need to know what treatments work. We need to know how the immune system works during and after infection. By combining the lab science and the clinical science in one person, we have a powerful link to generate more insight from each person than doing the studies separately. 

Latest News

Helpful Links

Nova Scotia Health Authority COVID-19 Hub – Information related to assessment centres, restrictions and closures, as well as information for health care providers.

Nova Scotia Government Coronavirus Updates – Province of Nova Scotia updates including testing data, support programs and re-opening.

Canadian Government Coronavirus Information Site – Updates from the Government of Canada including health and safety recommendations and support programs.

Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Centre – Up-to-date global statistics and map of disease.

Clinical Trials – US National Library of Medicine – Information about this study

Funding Agencies

Please direct your questions to: info@co-vic.ca

Trial Sites

The study is currently taking place at six hospitals across Nova Scotia: QEII Health Sciences Centre (Halifax), Dartmouth General Hospital (Dartmouth), Yarmouth Regional Hospital (Yarmouth), Valley Regional Hospital (Kentville), Cape Breton Regional Hospital (Sydney), and Colchester East Hants Health Centre (Truro). Sites may be moved or added as necessary.