HALIFAX, NS – CO-VIC, the COVID-19 treatment and immunity study, will evaluate effectiveness of treatments for hospitalized patients suffering moderate to severe COVID-19 symptoms, while helping researchers discover more about immunity to the virus.

CO-VIC is a Nova Scotia-designed study combining both treatment and laboratory science. It is led by Dr. Lisa Barrett, Clinician Scientist, Infectious Diseases, Nova Scotia Health Authority and Dalhousie University. The study is partially funded by the Nova Scotia COVID-19 Health Research Coalition.

The CO-VIC study tests potential therapies, and monitors impact on COVID-19 symptoms. When additional cutting-edge therapies become available, they will also be assessed. Personalized measurements of immune response will help develop future therapies and predict when and how severe COVID-19 happens. While the global race to develop a COVID-19 vaccine is well underway, the discovery science component of the study will advance our understanding of how the immune system responds to the disease and inform development of future treatments and second-wave vaccines.

“As COVID-19 related deaths increase in the older population, in the young who didn’t ever expect to be ill, and in health care workers, our research community feels the overwhelming urgency to protect Nova Scotians with research that tests treatments, predicts disease, and promotes understanding of immunity,” said Dr. Barrett. “We need the best knowledge of treatments and immunity, to save lives now and in the future as we continue to fight COVID-19.”

The treatment study is an integral part of Nova Scotia’s pandemic response. Compared with other provinces, Nova Scotia’s population includes a high proportion of vulnerable individuals who are older, have underlying respiratory conditions, or are immune suppressed. These are all people at higher risk of severe COVID-19 disease and this work may aid in protecting our population.

Approximately 600 patients located at NSHA sites across the province will participate. Most Nova Scotians will be eligible to take part at hospitals outside traditional research facilities to ensure fair access to research and potential therapies. While data will be gathered from Nova Scotians, for Nova Scotians, the study is designed to mirror larger international trials to promote the comparison of global data. This will allow the research team to leverage international information so it can be applied here in Nova Scotia.