New Research Projects Aim to Improve Ontario’s Response to COVID-1

New Research Projects Aim to Improve Ontario’s Response to COVID-19

September 10, 2020

Ontario is investing over $2.9 million to fund eight research projects that aim to support Ontario’s response to COVID-19. These projects will focus on a wide variety of areas such as supporting the mental health and well-being of families and children, assessing the long-term health effects of COVID-19, the development of an app to better manage the care of patients, and an evaluation of the effectiveness of wearing masks to block the virus. 

These research projects will inform the health response to COVID-19 and ensure patients continue to receive quality care for their physical and mental wellness.

Adapting Anxiety Intervention for Youth with Autism for Rapid Response to COVID-19: A Research Project to Provide and Evaluate Virtual Mental Health Care

Evdokia Anagnostou, Principal Investigator

Bloorview Research Institute, Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital

This project will deliver and evaluate a virtual intervention to help treat acute anxiety among youth who have Autism Spectrum Disorder caused by social isolation during the COVID-19 outbreak. Rapid action in disseminating and evaluating virtual mental health supports is critical, especially for vulnerable families.

Monitoring the Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic Response on Mental Health and Well-being of Children, Young People and their Families in Ontario

Kathy Georgiades, Principal Investigator

McMaster University

This study will monitor the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic response on the mental health and well-being of children and families in Ontario. It will help determine the magnitude, duration and distribution of adverse effects to support mitigation strategies and future policy-making.

Real-time Monitoring of Disaster-related Mental Health Impact of COVID-19 on Canadian Children, Youth and Families: A Collaboration of Community and Clinical Cohorts

Daphne Korczak, Principal Investigator

Hospital for Sick Children

This project will bring together four research teams to determine the real-time impact of COVID-19 on the mental health and well-being of children and families in Ontario. The study will answer vital questions about the impact that COVID-19 emergency measures have had on children and parents.

The Longitudinal Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on the Mental Health of Children in Southwestern Ontario

Lance Rappaport, Principal Investigator

University of Windsor

This study will assess families in Southwestern Ontario through mid 2021 to identify the impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on children’s daily lives and psychological distress. This will help in the development of guidelines to assess children at risk for long-term psychological harm, inform the development of targeted treatments and determine the mental health resources required to mitigate the risk to children’s mental health.

Imaging Tests for the Diagnosis of COVID-19: A ‘Living’ Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Matthew McInnes, Principal Investigator

Ottawa Hospital Research Institute

Chest imaging may have a crucial role in the management of patients suspected to have COVID-19. This research will develop robust diagnostic guidelines for interpretation of chest imaging to evaluate the efficacy of this method in diagnosing and monitoring COVID-19 patients.

Through international collaboration with the Cochrane COVID-19 Diagnostic Rapid Review Group (whose membership includes representatives from the World Health Organization and the Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics), the Canadian Society of Thoracic Radiology/Canadian Association of Radiologists and the British Society of Thoracic Imaging, this research could have global impact on the diagnosis and management of COVID-19 health resources.

Lung Structure-Function in Survivors of Mild and Severe COVID19 Infection: Xe MRI and CT for Rapid Evaluations and Next-wave Healthcare Planning

Grace Parraga, Principal Investigator

Western University

COVID-19 infection can result in pneumonia, lung inflammation and respiratory failure with damage to lung airways, tissue and blood vessels. In survivors, it may cause long-term, irreversible lung damage and debilitating symptoms. A team of researchers will evaluate novel MRI and CT images of COVID-19 survivors across five centres of excellence in Ontario to quantitatively evaluate post-infection lung abnormalities. This research will shed light on the long-term effects of COVID-19 to assist with planning for the health services needs of COVID-19 survivors.

Development of a Risk Assessment Tool to Predict Outcomes in Ventilated COVID-19 Patients

Sheila Riazi, Principal Investigator

University Health Network

Through the development of an app or webpage model, this project will predict patient outcomes for individuals infected with COVID-19. Researchers will collect data on COVID-19 patients who require ventilation to help clinicians make decisions on patient management and better allocate resources during the current pandemic, possible second wave or future pandemics, leading to better overall patient outcomes.

Effectiveness of Masks in Limiting COVID-19 Transmission

Benzhong Zhao, Principal Investigator

McMaster University

This research will provide clarity on the role of masks in stemming the spread of COVID-19. Results will aid public health officials in their decision-making, encourage and motivate the general public to voluntarily wear masks and lead to new testing standards for measuring the effectiveness of face masks in blocking disease transmission.