Left: Dr. Vincent Mooser, Director, Biobanque québécoise de la COVID-19 (BQC19); Right: Dr. Philippe Pibarot, Head of Cardiology Research, Institut universitaire de cardiologie et de pneumologie de Québec - Université Laval (IUCPQ-ULaval) Photo Credit: R

COVID-19 Novel approach in the study of the causes and consequences of COVID-19 in Quebec

Thursday, December 9, 2021 8:10:00 PM

- Extensive biochemical measurement of biomarkers found in the blood of Quebecers who have been infected.
- The Biobanque québécoise de la COVID-19 (BQC19) is the largest biobank dedicated to COVID-19 in Canada, including more than 28,000 samples from 3,674 participants affected by the mild or severe form of the disease;
- The aim of the study is to better understand the causes and consequences of COVID-19 to establish personalized approaches in the management of SARS-CoV-2 infection and its complications;
- The study will include biochemical analysis coupled with a wide range of other molecular data, to assist in the creation of new approaches to diagnosis and monitoring of the disease;
- The data will be made available to the scientific community for research on COVID-19;
- This is a multi-institutional initiative, funded by the Fonds de recherche du Québec - Santé (FRQS), Génome Québec and the Public Health Agency of Canada;
- The study partners are the Institut universitaire de cardiologie et de pneumologie de Québec - Université Laval (IUCPQ-ULaval), BQC19, Roche Diagnostics and CIRION BioPharma Research Inc. (CIRION). -

A novel approach to the study of the causes and long-term consequences of COVID-19 will be launched in Quebec thanks to a new partnership between the IUCPQ-ULaval, the BQC19, CIRION and Roche Diagnostics, division of Hoffmann-La Roche Limited. Their joint objective is to develop tools to better personalize approaches that would predict complications of the disease, improve treatment, and reduce the duration of hospitalization and deaths, especially in people suffering from chronic illness. The study would not be possible without the participation of patients who willingly agreed to share their blood samples.

Contributing to this unprecedented effort, Roche Diagnostics will provide reagents for the biomarker analysis, which will be conducted on 5,000 BQC19 blood samples by researchers at IUCPQ-ULaval and CIRION.

"This Quebec study is very important, and we are honoured to be a part of it. We will analyze a large panel of more than 30 blood biomarkers specific to inflammation, coagulation, fatigue, lipid profiles and cardiovascular damage within the 5,000 samples collected by the BQC19," says Dr. Philippe Pibarot, principal investigator of the study and Director of Cardiology Research at IUCPQ-ULaval. "The full clinical spectrum of COVID-19 will be represented, including inpatients and outpatients infected with COVID-19, recovered patients who have been previously hospitalized for COVID-19 and control subjects not infected with COVID-19."

To reach the study's objective, researchers accessing this data will examine the risk stratification, triage and therapeutic management of patients with COVID-19, creating a table that will compare the main clinical risk factors with the most relevant blood biomarkers. By doing so, researchers look to be able to better predict the risk of severe COVID-19, as well as the sequelae of the disease.

"A pioneer in this space, the Biobanque québécoise de la COVID-19 (BQC19) was set up at the request of health authorities in March 2020 and recruited its first patient a month later, at the very beginning of the first wave," underlines Dr. Vincent Mooser, Director of the BQC19. "Research is essential to better understand the course of SARS-CoV-2 infection and its determinants, to identify those at risk and to take appropriate steps to protect them, as well as to help governments not only in Canada but around the world take action to control the spread of infection."

"At Roche Diagnostics, we are proud to support this unique effort," said Michele D'Elia, Executive Director, Medical and Scientific Affairs with the diagnostics company. "The results obtained by analysing this new data will help develop new solutions adapted to the specific needs of patients, not only for COVID-19, but for many other chronic diseases. This is a priority for our company, as a leader in diagnostics in Canada."

"CIRION BioPharma Research is pleased to join this partnership and collaborate in the search for new knowledge to prevent and treat this infection," says Dr. Lise Dallaire, Executive Vice-President at CIRION. "Since the start of the pandemic, CIRION has been a leader in Quebec in supporting clinical research with laboratory analysis for SARS-COV-2 and antibodies in subjects, as well as the evaluation of the cellular and humoral immune response induced by various SARS-CoV-2 vaccines."

BQC19 data access procedure

The data access procedure as well as the type of data and samples currently available are outlined on the BQC19 website (en.quebeccovidbiobank.ca). Currently, the available clinical data is associated with more than 3,600 BQC19 participants who tested positive or negative (controls) for SARS-CoV-2. Participants were recruited from two resources, either having been hospitalized or having been seen in an outpatient clinic. BQC19 can currently share genomic sequencing, proteomic analysis, and RNA sequencing data on a portion of these participants. Access will be extended to additional analytical data as it becomes available.

SOURCE: Roche Diagnostics Canada