Heart Institute to lead point-of-care technology study to improve patient care amid COVID-19 pandemic

May 21, 2020

Dr. Derek So awarded important funding through the Ontario COVID-19 Rapid Research Fund.

Dr. Derek So, a cardiologist and clinician investigator at the University of Ottawa Heart Institute, is a recipient of $751,520 in provincial funding through the Ontario COVID-19 Rapid Research Fund. So will now lead a study to determine the role of point-of-care testing (POC) as a tool to improve care of COVID-19 patients and conserve resources.

The COVID-19 Rapid Research Fund is Ontario's commitment to making investments that advance medical research and develop tools and resources to combat COVID-19 and other infectious diseases. This investment is part of Ontario's Action Plan: Responding to COVID-19 and Ontario's contribution to the global efforts to contain the COVID-19 pandemic.

About the project

One major obstacle facing hospitals during the COVID-19 outbreak is the inability to quickly diagnose carriers of COVID-19. Delayed test results could mean that patients, who ultimately test negative, are treated for days utilizing resources that could be better deployed elsewhere.

An immediate diagnosis of COVID-19 among carriers could provide more expedient treatment, prevent clinical deterioration and help healthcare workers avoid unnecessary risk of exposure.

Dr. Derek So says a device called the SPARTAN Cube, which is no larger than a tissue box, may yield the potential to detect carriers of COVID-19 in as little as 45 minutes.

In collaboration with Spartan Bioscience, the company which developed the POC technology, and a team of specialists from six centres in Ontario, this research will evaluate the efficacy of POC testing to determine when, how and to who it can be applied.

For more information, please read the complete announcement.