RI-MUHC researchers take leadership role in a new national platform seeking outpatient treatments for COVID-19 

The Government of Canada announces $10 million to create the Can-ADAPT COVID platform co-led by Emily McDonald and Todd C. Lee for the conduct of outpatient randomized controlled trials 

Today, the Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Health, announced an investment of $10 million to create a pan-Canadian platform to advance research into the effectiveness and clinical challenges of new COVID-19 treatments in non-hospitalized patients. The Canadian ADAptive Platform Trial of COVID-19 Therapeutics in Community Settings (Can-ADAPT COVID) will be led by Dr. Andrew Pinto, Director of the Upstream Lab at St. Michael's Hospital, a site of Unity Health Toronto, and a Professor at the University of Toronto. Drs. Emily McDonald and Todd C. Lee, both scientists in the Infectious Diseases and Immunity in Global Health Program at the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre (RI-MUHC), will bring to the project the expertise they have developed in that field since the beginning of the pandemic.

Emily McDonald and Todd C. Lee

“We are very excited to co-lead this national team of researchers. Our goal is to continue to respond to the evolving needs of Canadians for safe and effective outpatient treatments for COVID-19. At the RI-MUHC, we were early leaders in this key area of research and we continue to recognize the need for high quality clinical trials to inform treatments for COVID-19. The virus continues to evolve, but we are ready to meet the challenge!” says Dr. McDonald.

In March 2020, the RI-MUHC team coordinated the first outpatient randomized controlled trial in Canada to recruit a patient, with results published in the New England Journal of Medicine and Annals of Internal Medicine. Their work on subsequent outpatient randomized controlled trials has been published in prestigious medical journals. In addition, Dr. Lee and Dr. McDonald, both Associate Professors in the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences at McGill University, have distinguished themselves as thought leaders in the positioning of various outpatient therapies.

"Can-ADAPT COVID, with the support of the Public Health Agency of Canada, provides the type of infrastructure required to understand which therapies will be most effective in vaccinated and immunosuppressed patients in Canada, to enable access to novel therapeutics outside of major academic centres, to prepare for new variants, and to explore longer term outcomes," says Dr. Lee.

Can-ADAPT COVID is made possible thanks to the Canadian Institutes of Health Research in collaboration with Health Canada and the Public Health Agency of Canada.

Read the press release from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.