The following studies led by BC Children's Hospital and BC Women's Hospital researchers aim to improve diagnostics, as well as better understand the transmission of COVID-19 and the impact of genetics on risk factors. 

Click on the study titles below for more information. 

Validation of SARS-CoV-2 antibody assays in dried blood spots

David Goldfarb, Principal Investigator

This study will test dried blood spot (DBS) samples from various sources to evaluate and validate DBS anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibody assays across multiple testing platforms.

Contact: Michelle Dittrick

Swab-to-PCR: Simple and Rapid Diagnosis of COVID-19 Using Extraction-Free Nucleic Acid Amplification

Peter Tilley, Principal Investigator

The primary aim of this project is to establish extraction-free qRT-PCR assays in the clinical laboratory at BC Children’s Hospital, using novel reverse transcriptase and Taq polymerase enzymes.

Contact: Michelle Dittrick

Proteome and metabolome modulation in COVID-19 patients

Philipp Lange, Principal Investigator

The goal of this study is to characterize the changes in the protein and metabolite composition of human cells and body fluids in response to an active or resolved infection with SARS-CoV-2 virus and its impact on the cellular physiology.

Contact: Brenda Tse

Human Coronavirus Peptide Array (VirScan CoV): Understanding Antibody Responses to SARS-CoV-2 using Phage Display Immunoprecipitation Sequencing (PhIP-Seq)

Agatha N. Jassem, Principal Investigator

Valid serological tests are needed to profile the immune response to SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2, the viral agent responsible for COVID19). However, these tests likely cross-react with other viruses that belong to the same family (i.e. other human coronaviruses). To understand the targets of these SARS-CoV-2 antibodies and their cross-reactivity towards other human coronaviruses, we will identify human coronavirus proteins that are found to bind to serum antibodies.

Contact: Inna Sekirov

Pulmonary Imaging of Post-COVID-19 Recovery (ImPCR)

Don Sin, Principal Investigator

As more British Columbians become infected with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and recover, optimal care for these patients is uncertain due to a lack of information about disease pathophysiology and outcomes. A Post-COVID-19 Recovery Clinic (PCRC) has been established in Vancouver to evaluate clinical, physiologic, imaging and blood biomarker data towards developing an understanding of what impairments persist in survivors of COVID-19. Moreover, the PCRC is investigating what tests and treatment are required to address these ongoing challenges to patients’ health and related quality of life.

Contact: Rachel Eddy

COVID Antibody Study

Pascal Lavoie, Principal Investigator

This study aims to: i) establish the antibody seroprevalence for SARS-CoV-2 in the greater Vancouver, ii) determine the proportion of individuals who have antibodies to other common human coronaviruses and iii) study the immune determinant of the response to COVID-19 and to the SARS-CoV-2 vaccine.

For more information: Lavoie Lab

Contact: Esther Alonso-Prieto

The SPRING Study: Severe acute resPiratory syndrome-Related coronavirus 2 prevalence In children and youNG adults in British Columbia: an observational study

Manish Sadarangani, Principal Investigator

Researchers at the Vaccine Evaluation Center would like to find out how many children and young adults in BC may have been infected with SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that was identified in December 2019 which causes the infectious disease known as COVID-19). The World Health Organization declared COVID-19 as a pandemic due to the rapid increase in the number of cases globally. Many cases in children, as well as in adults, have been mildly symptomatic or asymptomatic (without symptoms). This study will help researchers better understand the rates of COVID-19 infection amongst children and youth in BC, which are currently unknown. This valuable information can help to guide policies and recommendations in BC for both work and school environment.

For more information: The Vaccine Evaluation Center

Contact: Helen He

Smart Triage: Saving young lives — Triage and management of sepsis in children using the point-of-care Paediatric Rapid Sepsis Trigger (PRST) tool

Mark Ansermino, Principal Investigator

Our original goal was to develop and validate a prediction model and to perform clinical validation of a digital trigger tool to guide triage and treatment of children at health facilities in LMICs with suspected sepsis. COVID-19 is an example of one of the organisms that has the potential to cause sepsis.

Contact: Mark Ansermino

Secondary Household Attack Rate Evaluation of COVID-19 (SHARE-COVID)

Manish Sadarangani, Principal Investigator

The purpose of this study is to develop a better understanding of how COVID-19 infection spreads between people who live in the same household, including young children and household members who appear to be asymptomatic. We also hope to discover if there are biological differences between people who do become infected by someone else in the home, and people who do not become infected.

For more information: The Vaccine Evaluation Center

Contact: Brittany Seligman

COVID-19 Antibody Responses in Cystic Fibrosis Patients: (CAR-CF) Study

Mark Chilvers, Principal Investigator

Although there have been few cases in persons with Cystic Fibrosis (CF), the risk of Covid-19 in the CF population remains unknown.

It is important to know which CF patients do not have an antibody response to COVID-19 and are potentially susceptible to infection, thus requiring continued protective infection control practices. We also need to know whether Covid-19 infection leads to worsened pulmonary function in individuals with CF.

Contact: Alam Lakhani

COVID Sequencing: Host genetic factors underlying severe COVID-19

Catherine Biggs, Principal Investigator

This study will investigate why around five per cent of people with COVID-19 require critical care for severe disease (respiratory failure, hyperinflammatory response) while most experience minimal symptoms. We cannot identify who will develop severe disease, and the predisposing genetic factors are unknown.

We will combine next generation sequencing with functional characterization to achieve 2 objectives: 1) Genetics of COVID-19: determine what proportion of patients with severe COVID-19 have an underlying IEI and characterize the role of genetic factors in COVID-19 disease. 2) Targeted therapy: molecularly-targeted treatments (e.g., if patients with hyperinflammation have variants dysregulating JAK-STAT signaling, JAK inhibitors may be indicated).

Contact: Catherine Biggs

COVID-19 Inflammatory blood biomarkers for clinical management, prognosis and evaluation of interventions

Mypinder Sekhon and Cheryl Wellington, Principal Investigators

Purpose: 1) Determine the prevalence of a COVID-19 hyper-inflammatory "cytokine storm" phenotype in patients at Vancouver General Hospital 2) Determine any potential links between cytokine storm and ARDS in COVID-19 patients 3) Profile patients with mild and severe disease in an attempt to identify biomarkers that could be developed into a rapid test for triaging patients who require urgent care from those that will recover on their own 4) Elucidate the impact of genetic variation on clinical outcomes from COVID-19 5) Identify SARS-CoV-2 relevant RNAs 6) Determine the differences between the serum cytokine profile in COVID-19 patients with respiratory failure versus non-COVID respiratory failure ICU patients.

Contact: Denise Foster