Our scientists answer your most urgent COVID-19 questions

June 25, 2020

Heard conflicting information about how long it might take to develop a vaccine for COVID-19? Feeling concerned about a second wave? Wondering whether household pets can spread the virus?

You’re not alone.

These questions and more were answered candidly by some of Sunnybrook’s top experts during a series of virtual panel discussions hosted by Sunnybrook Foundation.

In the first session we heard from Dr. Jerome Leis, medical director of Sunnybrook’s infection prevention and control program, responsible for leading the team that implemented the hospital’s strict COVID-19 protocols. We also welcomed Dr. Samira Mubareka, a microbiologist and infectious diseases specialist whose team was among the first in Canada to isolate the virus that causes COVID-19. That work has enabled researchers across Canada to search for treatments and investigate how the virus is spread.

The pair answered some of your most urgent questions, including those about vaccine safety, controlling community spread in big cities and everyday protective measures everyone should be taking right now. If you couldn’t participate, you can tune into the complete recorded discussion here.

Thanks to the overwhelmingly positive response, Sunnybrook Foundation hosted a second session on June 23 with Dr. Robert Fowler, epidemiologist and Chief of the Tory Trauma Program, and Dr. Jeannie Callum, transfusion medicine specialist and clinician-researcher at Sunnybrook. Currently, they both are leading large-scale national clinical trials in the race to discover treatments for COVID-19.

Anticipating a second wave of infection in Canada was top-of-mind during this session, as was a potential new treatment for COVID-19 involving blood plasma from recovered COVID-19 patients. The hope is that antibodies found in plasma will save lives and hasten recovery for patients hospitalized with the virus. For information about these and other important issues, including what we should be optimistic – but cautious – about as the world begins to reopen, the second panel recording can be viewed here.

So much of Sunnybrook’s innovative research into COVID-19 has been made possible thanks to the extraordinary generosity of donors. Sunnybrook is deeply grateful for all our community is doing to support us as we work around the clock in the fight against COVID-19.