Romina Brignardello-Petersen sees her new $1.4 million of COVID-19 research funding as an endorsement for using evidence to inform clinical practice.

The assistant professor of the Department of Health Research Methods, Evidence, and Impact is heading one of 52 research projects announced last week as receiving funding from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) for research on the virus.

“This type of project is really difficult to fund through a government agency, it usually comes from private funding or medical organizations,” she said. “This grant demonstrates the importance of making decisions based on the best available evidence.”

The research carried out by Brignardello-Petersen and her team has already helped inform World Health Organization (WHO) recommendations on medications, such as remdesivir and corticosteroids, among others.

The project has two parts: an ongoing review and analysis of COVID-19 treatment trials; and providing rapid recommendations for both prevention and treatment. Their review is published in the British Medical Journal and updated regularly.

The first part is led by researchers at McMaster University, and the second is a partnership between Brignardello-Petersen’s team, the MAGIC Evidence Ecosystem Foundation and the WHO.

The new grant will allow continuation of research began last April by the Brignardello-Petersen research team.

Brignardello-Petersen says her research forms part of the COVID-19 Evidence Network to support Decision-making (COVID-END), a worldwide coalition of more than 50 organizations, including McMaster University, to help combat the pandemic.

Researchers in Canada and abroad may freely share information on COVID-19 through the COVID-END network.

The second McMaster grant recipient is Evelyne Durocher, assistant professor of the School of Rehabilitation Science who is receiving $115,000 for her research on the impact of pandemic-related restrictions on the wellbeing of Ontario’s retirement and long-term care home residents.

In making the grant announcement, federal Health Minister Patty Hajdu said: “I congratulate the successful research teams, whose work will address the most pressing COVID-19 issues facing Canadians and the world today. The new research will help inform and accelerate our efforts to improve the health of all populations.”

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