Category Archives: COVID-19

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

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

Larry Lands and Laurent Pharmaceuticles to begin a clinical trial on COVID-19 treatment with LAU-7b, a pro-resolving drug with potential antiviral properties against coronavirus

Laurent Pharmaceuticals to begin clinical trial on COVID-19 treatment

Click here to read how Laurent Pharmaceuticals, a McGill spinoff will run a Phase 2 clinical study with LAU-7b, a pro-resolving drug with potential antiviral properties against coronavirus.

Larry Lands is the Chief Medical Advisor for Laurent Pharmaceuticals. Laurent Pharmaceuticals Inc. is planning to test its lead drug LAU-7b in patients with COVID-19 disease. LAU-7b was recently identified as a potential anti-viral therapeutic option for COVID-19 during a drug-library screening effort.

Emergency ventilator dubbed the vermontilator developed by researcherches including Jason Bates, a Meakins-Christie Alumnus

Ventilator dubbed ‘Vermontilator’ co-developed by Meakins Alumnus

Read more about the “Vermontilator”, and watch the interview with Jason Bates, a lung expert at the UVM Larner College of Medicine.

The Vermontilator would never be used in situations where you have a commercial ventilator. We’re looking at the situation where there are patients dying without available ventilators for them and this would be their lifesaving measure

– Jason Bates

Jason Bates is a Meakins-Christie alumnus. He was a post-doctoral fellow under the supervision of Prof. Joseph Milic-Emili at the Meakins-Christie Laboratories from 1983-1986. Then he was a Meakins-Christie Laboratories research director between 1986-1999.

Special COVID-19 lab safety procedures for the Meakins-Christie labortories

COVID-19 Special RESP Lab Measures

Given the recent closure of the Meakins-Christie Laboratories, please review the restrictions effective immediately, for accessing the RESP laboratories.

Mainly, during the closure period:

  1. An authorization from Dr. Basil Petrof must be obtained for each worker who requires access to the RESP laboratories.
  2. All authorized workers must comply with Safety Rules and Prevention Measures described in the below documents.

Authorized workers were invited to a Zoom meeting on April 7th. Please see Séverine for details. A copy of the presentation is available above.

If you have concerns or questions regarding these restrictions, please contact Séverine at

We would like to take the occasion to remind you that Biosafety Training is mandatory for all laboratory workers. As the training is available online, we encourage those working from home to take advantage of this period, for updating their safety training.

PHAC Biosafety Principal Training at

COVID-19 biobank in Quebec to collect samples and support infrastructure

Quebec COVID-19 Biobank

The FRQ will support a new province-wide COVID-19 Biobank. McGill researchers, including Dr. Simon Rousseau, will lead a new task force designed to facilitate and coordinate collection of samples and data from COVID-19 patients across Quebec.

Read the McGill Reporter article here:

FRQ to create a province-wide COVID-19 Biobank

Read the RI-MUHC News article here:

FRQ to create a province-wide COVID-19 Biobank: RI-MUHC researchers take leading roles in the initiative

Opinion: All levels of government must take decisive, co-ordinated action now before it's too late opinion piece by salman qureshi and colleagues from the critical care network

Stepping up to COVID-19

Read the opinion piece co-written by Dr. Faiz Ahmad Khan in the Hill Times – published March 25, 2020 here:

With the arrival of COVID-19, Canada’s health-care system is being tested as never before. Canadian leaders must elicit the assistance of private industry to ensure its continued success, as health-care supplies and equipment are rapidly depleted. A substantial increase in testing for the virus together with significant financial investments in research, aimed at a deeper understanding of the virus and development of a vaccine, should also be top priorities. Solid financial support for all those impacted by the virus will ensure a rapid return to normal once the crisis has abated. Maintaining open communication and collaboration between leaders, the government, and with partners across the board is the key to our ultimate success.