Category Archives: COVID-19

Posts and information on COVID-19 for Meakins-Christie, RECRU, and RESP members.

SARS-CoV-2 How do we eliminate this virus?

Defeating SARS-CoV-2: A Team Effort

In his opinion piece appearing in the July 13, 2020 edition of The Gazette, Dr. Maziar Divangahi of the Meakins-Christie Laboratories addresses the question: “How can we eliminate this virus?” Dr. Divangahi speaks to the growth of the knowledge base about this virus to date and some of the many remaining questions to be answered.

The complete article can be read by clicking here.

Adamo Donovan, PhD student with Dr. Benjamin Smith, assists the Royal Victoria Hospital ICU staff and patients through the ICU Bridge Program

Royal Vic ICU: the faces behind the PPE

Thanks to the initiative of Adamo Donovan, PhD student with Dr. Benjamin Smith, the staff of the MUHC Royal Victoria Hospital ICU Department are now sharing their identity with colleagues and patients despite their PPE. With a photo of their face pinned to the outside of their PPE, staff are now able to clearly identify each other beyond their eye color. Here is an excerpt from the CBC article of July 4, 2020: Faces hidden due to PPE, Royal Victoria ICU nurses don portraits of themselves:

“The nurses of the MUHC’s Royal Victoria Hospital intensive-care unit are now wearing pictures of themselves so that patients and colleagues can recognize them through their face masks, shields and hospital gowns. They took inspiration from American artist Mary Beth Heffernan, who during the 2014 Ebola outbreak in Liberia spearheaded the PPE Portrait Project there. The driving force behind the McGill University Health Centre initiative was Adamo Donovan, a PhD student and the co-founder of the ICU Bridge Program, which helps university students volunteer in intensive care.”

To read the article and watch the associated video, click here

‘Contain COVID-19’ – in its earliest phases

Dr. Nicole Ezer, Dr. James Martin, Dr. Andrea Benedetti and Dr. Ben Smith, all members of the RI-MUHC’s RESP Program, have recently announced their new COVID-19 study. This study is designed to test the efficacy of ciclesonide, a steroid currently on the market, to inhibit the spread of the COVID virus in its early stages. This new trial builds on the knowledge gained from a recent study using dexamethasone on advanced cases of COVID-19.

This new study, called Contain COVID-19, which will soon be in the recruiting stage, is aimed at decreasing the severity of shortness of breath among patients who have not yet been hospitalized. Dr. Ezer states in her recent interview with Mathieu Perreault of La Presse:

« Nous espérons que ça va diminuer la gêne respiratoire et éviter l’hospitalisation en stoppant la réplication virale et en diminuant la progression de l’inflammation dans les voies respiratoires inférieures. »

Eligible participants of the study will receive the medication (or placebo) in inhaler and nasal spray form at their residence, to be used for a period of 14 days. Ciclesonide was approved by Health Canada in 2008, and side effects are fairly uncommon, mild and cease when the medication is stopped.

Dr. Ezer’s interview with Mathieu Perreault of La Presse can be read here.

Detailed information on the clinical trial as well as registration information, can be found here.

Jean Bourbeau receives funding from the CIHR 2020 COVID-19 May 2020 Rapid Research Funding Opportunity


Dr. Jean Bourbeau received funding from the CIHR COVID-19 May 2020 Rapid Research Funding Opportunity. Title of grant: COVID-19 and COPD: Important knowledge gaps in subclinical pulmonary disease in the Canadian population.

Congratulations Jean!

Dr. Jean Bourbeau is an Associate Member of the Meakins-Christie Laboratories, Member of the RECRU, and Scientist at the RI-MUHC RESP Program. His research focuses primarily on chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and secondarily on disease management, self-management, pulmonary rehabilitation and cardiorespiratory exercise physiology.

ATS Assemblies June 23, 2020 1:00 pm EDT

Clinical Aspects of COVID-19 Recovery – Register Now!

The ATS Assemblies Respiratory Structure and Function (RSF) and Pulmonary Rehabilitation (PR) are pleased to announce a webinar on “Clinical Aspects of COVID-19 Recovery” on Tuesday, June 23 at 1:00 p.m. EDT.

Speakers/topics will include:

Effect of muscle atrophy in COVD-19 recovery – Neil Greening, MBBS, BMedSci(hons), MRCP(UK), PhD (University of Leicester)
Pulmonary considerations in COVID-19 recovery – Potential long-term complications – Chris Ryerson, MD, MAS (University of British Columbia)
Post-COVID-19 Centers of Excellence – What data should be collected during recovery? – Reynold A. Panettieri, Jr., MD (Rutgers University)

Discussion panelists will include:

Heidi Lindroth, PhD, RN (Indiana University School of Medicine)
Marilyn Moy, MD, MSc (Harvard Medical School)
Basil Petrof, MD (McGill University Health Center)
Carolyn Rochester, MD, FCCP (Yale School of Medicine)

The session will be moderated by Johanna Uthoff, PhD (University of Sheffield)

To register for the webinar, click here.

COVID-19: Best Testing Practices

COVID-19: Change our Testing Tactics!

Dr. Dick Menzies’ latest opinion piece on COVID-19 appears in the Montreal Gazette. According to Dr. Menzies, the best plan for testing is to focus it on the asymptomatic individuals who interact closely and regularly with people who are symptomatic and have tested positive. This is where we will find the virus-positive, asymptomatic individuals in the community. Identifying these seemingly healthy yet highly contagious people will greatly reduce the spread of the virus.

This thought-provoking article can be read in full here.

Dr. Dick Menzies, MD, is a RESP member and Meakins-Christie Associate Member and Director of the WHO Collaborating Centre for TB research at the MUHC. Jonathon Campbell is a postdoctoral fellow under the supervision of Dr. Dick Menzies in the Department of Epidemiology, Biostatistics, and Occupational Health at McGill University.

Getting ahead of the curve: A comprehensive COVID-19 testing strategy for Canada

Revising our COVID-19 Testing Strategy

In his article appearing in The Star on May 27, 2020, Dr. Dick Menzies explains how a significantly revised testing strategy for the COVID-19 virus would improve long-term outcomes across the country. He offers a convincing argument for changes which, at first glance may look excessive, but would ultimately lead to a flattening of the curve at overall lower cost to Canadians. Dr. Menzies’ ideas in detail can be read here.

Dr. Dick Menzies is a member of the RESP program at the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre and Associate Member of the Meakins-Christie Laboratories.

Warriors at the MUHC

Staff at the MUHC have taken on new responsibilities to meet the evolving demands that COVID-19 is placing on healthcare workers, patients, and the medical system as a whole. Without hesitation, staff are taking on this additional work and meeting the challenge of remaining one step ahead of the virus. One such individual is Dr. Kevin Schwartzman, Director of the Division of Respiratory Medicine at the MUHC who, together with his colleagues, converted a research unit into one dedicated solely to the care of COVID-19 patients.

Read more about Dr. Schwartzman and the other MUHC Warriors here:

RAMQ should remove financial barriers to smoking-cessation

RAMQ: Remove Financial Barriers to Smoking-Cessation!

An opinion piece published by Sean Gilman in The Gazette on May 18, 2020, emphasizes the importance of increased RAMQ support for patients who require multiple courses of nicotine replacement therapy and other smoking cessation Rx. It reflects a letter to the health ministry prepared by Sean, Dr. Jean Bourbeau, and more than 100 other professionals, and is particularly meaningful during the current pandemic.

Dr. Bourbeau is an associate member of the Meakins-Christie Laboratories and a senior scientist in the RI-MUHC RESP Program. He brings many years of experience to his work, as do the other professionals working with him, giving considerable weight to their assertions.

Read the piece in more detail at:

CHEST Journal Club Webinar Thursday May 14, 2020 4:00 pm EST 'Management of lung nodules and lung cancer screening during the COVID-19 pandemic.'

CHEST® Journal Club Webinar May 14

On Thursday, May 14, 2020 at 4:00 pm EST, moderators Viren Kaul, MD, and Divya Patel, DO; journal CHEST® authors Peter Mazzone, MD, MPH, FCCP, and Douglas Arenberg, MD, FCCP. Joining them will be multimedia liaison Anne Gonzalez, MD, MSc, FCCP and Scientist at the RESP Program of the RI-MUHC, to discuss the management of lung nodules and lung cancer screening during the COVID-19 pandemic. Register here to take part in the webinar.