Friday , January 15 2021

The race for remedies: shortage of guinea pigs in our labs

The few symptoms in the majority of patients and the competition between studies to test drugs against COVID-19 has led to a shortage of guinea pigs in Canada.

• Read also: The Medicine Race: Light at the End of the Tunnel

Canadian researchers testing cures for COVID-19 are tearing patients apart.

This is the sad reality of many researchers who rely on controlled and randomized trials, says Todd Campbell Lee, of the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Center.

The expert is participating in a study to test fluvoxamine, an inhalation steroid. The group is looking for patients with specific symptoms, such as a severe cough.

“When we contact patients, many don’t have the symptoms,” he says.


Those responsible for the Colcorona study at the Montreal Heart Institute, which are testing the effects of colchicine, are still struggling to find the 6,000 guinea pigs in order to conclude their research.

“We are not far from 5000. It is sure that things are going a little slower than we thought”, says the Dr Guy Boivin, from the CHU de Québec, who is participating in the study.

Colcorona calls for patients 40 years and older who have a higher risk of being hospitalized due to an inflammatory storm. However, the second wave mainly strikes young people, who have few symptoms.

“There is a competition. Even with the vaccine companies, ”adds Dr Boivin.

– With the collaboration of Jean-Luc Lavallée

What Doctor Béliveau thinks

The upcoming arrival of a vaccine is likely to exacerbate this problem, but the efforts devoted will not be wasted if they can be used to improve the logistics of clinical trials in the event of a future pandemic, ensuring better coordination of efforts. nationally, as is usually done in scientific research.

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