Reducing the Health Care Resource Burden from COVID‑19 (SARS-CoV-2): Rapid Diagnostics to Risk-Stratify for Severity of Illness

Keshavjee, Shaf | $970,702

Ontario University Health Network 2020 CIHR Operating Grant

Key to an effective response to the current novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak is a method to rapidly identify emergency department patients presenting with symptoms of COVID‑19 and are at high risk of progressing to severe illness and death. At University Health Network, our team represents a deeply experienced group of critical care doctors and infectious disease researchers who can immediately respond to the global need to provide an accurate diagnosis of respiratory illness-the main feature of COVID-19-at the front lines of patient care. We have recently developed a 40 minute diagnostic test to determine lung quality for transplantation. Recent scientific studies from China clearly show that the body’s development of respiratory distress as a response to potential COVID‑19 infection produces an identical injury profile that would be detected by our diagnostic test. We will work alongside SQI Diagnostics, our Canadian partner committed to developing diagnostics for lung health, to adapt our test towards the development of RALI-Dx (Rapid Acute Lung Injury Diagnostic). This diagnostic can be used by hospital emergency departments to screen for lung sickness and the likelihood of COVID‑19 infection. An important part of our CIHR-supported research study is a commitment from our Chinese collaborators to safely test our diagnostic first on COVID-19+ blood samples to make sure the test is highly accurate before hospital use. With our 40 minute RALI-Dx test, we will: -Quickly identify the highest risk patients in need of immediate care -Identify lower risk patients who require at-home monitoring -Reduce the current major stress on health care facilities Additionally, new COVID‑19 therapies are being rapidly developed around the world, and the first step will be to identify which patients will benefit the most from these treatments. With RALI-Dx, hospitals everywhere can better manage patient care and provide an accelerated response to the COVID‑19 outbreak.

With funding from the Government of Canada

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