Refining preclinical tools in lung physiology to evaluate COVID-19-mediated deaths from respiratory failure
What is the nature of the work? Since 70 percent of COVID-19-related deaths are attributed to respiratory failure, mouse models of respiratory failure will become increasingly employed to test promising drugs. The measurement of lung physiology in an animal as small as a mouse will also become paramount. Although this represents a huge engineering challenge, it has already been overcome by SCIREQ, a Canadian company that has created a device called the flexiVent. The flexiVent is still underused in research on respiratory failure and, owing to its growing versatility, its integration in this new specific field will require extensive procedural troubleshooting in order to optimize the outcomes. The goal of the present project is to develop a standardized and fully automated protocol that will provide the most comprehensive evaluation of lung physiology in a murine model of respiratory failure.
To whom the research is important? Our protocol will entitle non-respiratory experts to readily measure lung physiology with minimal mouse handling. On the short term, our project is thus essential for scientists who are specialized in the molecular and cellular aspects of infectious diseases but who need assistance to measure lung physiology in mice. On the long term, our project has the potential to improve patients’ care and save lives by accelerating research and drug discovery on COVID‑19
What are the anticipated outcomes and advancements that will result in benefits for Canada? A landmark protocol such as the one we aim to develop will ensure accuracy and reproducibility of the collected data. It will also facilitate comparisons between the tested drugs and the different laboratories. Additionally, it will promote a mature technology of a Canadian company, strengthen the link between an academic and a private sector, train highly qualified personnel and keep Canadian lung physiologists at the leading-edge of their field.