Coronavirus: Toronto man who recovered from COVID-19 volunteers for research trials

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André Valleteau spent his 27th birthday at home alone with his cat. Friends dropped off groceries and a cake, but Valleteau said he had little appetite just five days after discovering he had tested positive for COVID-19.

“I was at home for 17 days straight. Quarantine itself was probably the hardest part, ”said Valleteau.

LMC clinical research coordinator Manna Research, a Toronto-based company that does research studies itself, said it spent a lot of time reading and researching the new coronavirus.

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Valleteau learned that clinical trials were underway around the world and wanted to know more.

“I think I saw that China was sending plasma to Italy when the Italian cases started to increase, so I was curious then:” Are we doing something like this? Is there a possibility, when it’s all over, of being able to contribute in the same way? Asked Valleteau.

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He emailed a doctor at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Center, who was monitoring Valleteau’s progress remotely, and asked if there were any research studies he could participate in.

Valleteau is now part of two research projects, including one led by Dr. Mario Ostrowski at St. Michael’s Hospital. The study involves patients who recovered from COVID-19 to understand immunity to the coronavirus to develop immunotherapies.

“What we are doing is asking people to come to the hospital to do a procedure called leukapheresis. The procedure is similar to that of a blood donation to the Red Cross and an intravenous injection in the arm, “he said.

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“In our situation, the machine samples a person’s immune cells and returns blood to their body. “

After extracting the serum and immune cells, the samples are sent to 20 or 30 laboratories around the world who study how the immune system attacks the virus and examine the antibodies the person makes to neutralize the virus.

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Ostrowski said that by studying antibodies, samples can be synthesized and produced in large quantities that can be used as immunotherapy in people with severe COVID-19.

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Valleteau is also participating in a study led by researchers at the Sunnybrook Health Sciences center to provide an overview of an application to help track, monitor and treat COVID-19 patients.

Back at work, Valleteau is happy to be able to help the scientific world to understand this deadly pandemic.

“We can all play a role, I think. We are not all isolated incidents, “he said.



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