Category Archives: COVID-19

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

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.

Marc Tewfik joins the Global Consortium for Chemosensory Research

Dr. Marc Tewfik joins the GCCR

Dr. Marc Tewfik, of the RI-MUHC RESP program, has joined forces with the Global Consortium for Chemosensory Research. The focus of the GCCR is to investigate the relationship between COVID-19 and the chemical senses. Dr. Tewfik is also an associate member of the Meakins-Christie Laboratories and brings years of knowledge and experience to the group of 500+ transdisciplinary professionals in their quest to develop a worldwide survey to gain deeper knowledge of the COVID-19 virus and its effects on the body.

For further details, read the full article in the McGill Med e-News or visit the GCCR website.

The RI-MUHC evaluates the first UV-Disinfection Robot in Canada.

RI-MUHC evaluates UV-Disinfection Robot

According to a recent RI-MUHC press release, the first evaluation of a UV-Disinfection Robot in Canada is being carried out at the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre. The Robot is autonomous and mobile due to the robotics technology used. It could potentially reduce healthcare-associated infections and their consequences, including health complications, deaths and extra costs. Dr. Bruce Mazer, Executive Director and Chief Scientific Officer (CSO) of the RI-MUHC (Interim), confirms:

“We ordered this robot as the COVID-19 pandemic was emerging in China and Europe, with the objective to be first to evaluate this technology in Canada. An automated system can potentially improve patient safety, as well as protect hospital personnel. The robot was delivered at the RI-MUHC on Monday April 27, and will be tested in one patient room and one operating room at the RI-MUHC Centre for Innovative Medicine at the Glen site. We will also take this opportunity to assess if it can be used to disinfect stretchers and N-95 masks.”

The robot, manufactured in Denmark, is programmed to emit concentrated UV-C ultraviolet light onto infectious hotspots. The assessment will determine the potential value of the UVD robot technology compared to existing technologies using safety, efficacy, and effectiveness criteria.

ATS webinar on the Genomics of SARS-CoV-2 on April 29, 2020 at 1:00 pm EST. Moderated by Dr. Dara Torgerson.

ATS webinar: Genomics of SARS-CoV-2

Join Dr. Dara Torgerson on April 29, 2020 at 1:00 pm EST, as she moderates an ATS webinar entitled Genomics of SARS-CoV-2. The presenter, Michael Strong, PhD, is from the National Jewish Health and University of Colorado, in Denver. Dr. Strong will provide an overview of the latest genomics research on SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) and will address implications for pathogenesis and immunity. Dr. Strong’s research is focused on developing and applying computational methods to better generate, integrate and analyze genomic and proteomic information, with a focus on respiratory disease and disease pathogens. Register here to attend the webinar.

Anthony Gerber, MD, PhD (National Jewish Health)
Jose Gomez Villalobos, MD, MS (Yale School of Medicine)
Victor Ortega, MD, PhD (Wake Forest University)

This special presentation is sponsored by the Section on Genetics and Genomics of the American Thoracic Society.

COVID-19 funded projects by Meakins-Christie and RESP program members

COVID-19 Funded Grants and Projects

Congratulations to the Meakins-Christie and RESP program members who have received grants to study and fight COVID-19 and who are involved in collaborative research efforts.

MI4 Emergency COVID-19 Research Funding (Round 2).
View the full list of funded projects here:

  • Janusz Rak, Maziar Divangahi, Dongsic Choi: Exosomal Mimetics of COVID-19 as Viral Models and Therapeutics
  • Selena Sagan, Richard Menzies: Germicidal Ultraviolet Light to Disinfect Personal Protective Equipment to Reduce Nosocomial Transmission of COVID-19
  • Brett Thombs, Andrea Benedetti: Mental Health During the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Living Systematic Review of Symptom Levels, Factors Associated with Symptoms, and Intervention Effectiveness

MI4 Emergency COVID-19 Research Funding (Round 1).
View the full list of funded projects here:

  • Irah King: Targeting the gut microbiome to improve COVID-19 disease outcomes
  • John W. Hanrahan: Targeting coronavirus cation channels with antiviral drugs
  • Benjamin Smith: PCR-based testing to shorten self-isolation duration in COVID-19 exposed healthcare workers
  • Dick Menzies, Jonathon Campbell: Assessing costs and benefits of different testing strategies for COVID-19 in Canada
  • Brett Thombs, Linda Kwakkenbos, Andrea Benedetti, Susan Bartlett, John Varga, Scott Patten, Nicole Culos-Reed, Shannon Hebblethwaite: Mental health in an at-risk population during COVID-19: longitudinal study of risk factors and outcomes and embedded trial of an activity, education, and support intervention

FRQ COVID-19 Biobank

Dr. Jean Bourbeau: COVID-19 & COPD

What to do for COPD patients during a pandemic

Listen to Dr Jean Bourbeau’s discussion of the elevated risks faced by people with respiratory illnesses in the face of a COVID-19 diagnosis. Dr Bourbeau is involved in the CanCOLD study which aims to improve early diagnosis and treatment of people with COPD. He is a member of the RESP program and an associate member of the Meakins-Christie Laboratories.

Source: Le COVID-19 et les risques pour les personnes aux prises avec des problèmes respiratoires : entrevue avec Dr Jean Bourbeau, pneumologue au CUSM – 98.5 FM

Covid-19 and the Gastrointestinal Tract

Covid-19 in the gastrointestinal tract

Journalist Alexandre Touchette’s speaks with The Meakins’ Dr. Irah King on Radio Canada April 12, 2020. Dr. King shares several of his hypotheses as to why COVID-19 is found in specific areas of the body. Dr. King is looking to understand what leads to the gastrointestinal symptoms experienced by approximately 20% of those affected with the virus. During the interview, he discuses the gut-lung axis and epithelial and intestinal cells, and speaks to new studies that are trying to decipher why some patients exhibit gastrointestinal symptoms with COVID-19.

Listen to the interview here: Radio Canada Interview – Irah King