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Sunnybrook COVID-19 treatment clinical trial supported by donors including BMO

Sunnybrook’s community of donors has come together to quickly raise over $1 million for a promising pan-Canadian COVID-19 clinical trial being coordinated by a research team at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto. BMO Financial Group is the lead financial services donor to Sunnybrook’s CONCOR-1 efforts.

The Convalescent Plasma for COVID-19 Research (CONCOR-1) trial is investigating the therapeutic use of plasma – the portion of blood that contains antibodies – from patients who have recovered from COVID-19. Scientists hope to prove that antibodies found in the plasma of recovered patients can bind to and neutralize the virus that causes COVID-19. Under the leadership of Dr. Jeannie Callum, a transfusion specialist and clinician-researcher, Sunnybrook is the logistical lead for the national clinical trial involving as many as 60 medical centres across Canada and the United States.

“Thanks in large part to donor support and nimble collaboration across Canada and the United States, we have been able to launch this once-in-a-lifetime clinical trial to address a once-in-a-century pandemic,” says Dr. Callum. “COVID-19 currently has no effective treatment. We need to find a treatment that works, and we need to do it now – before any more lives are lost. This trial could do just that.”

“Over our longstanding relationship with Sunnybrook, BMO has witnessed the groundbreaking research they conduct and we are proud to support this promising trial,” said Catherine Roche, Chief Marketing Officer and Head, Social Impact, BMO Financial Group. “Offering our support to find a life-saving treatment for this virus is one of the ways BMO grows the good and contributes to the health and well-being of our communities, individuals and families.”

Both individuals and businesses across Toronto have united around this important cause, recognizing its potential to stop COVID-19 and save lives. In addition to BMO, The Slaight Family Foundation, Liu Fu Yu Charity Foundation, Don and Nita Reed Family Foundation, Kinross Gold Corporation, Amica Helping Hands Charity and Middlefield Group have stepped forward with leadership gifts of their own to Sunnybrook.

Sunnybrook COVID-19 patient becomes first recovered Toronto patient to donate plasma

Toronto resident Richard Carl recently became the first recovered COVID-19 patient in Toronto to donate plasma as part of the CONCOR-1 trial. Four of five of his family members were all diagnosed with COVID-19 after a family ski trip to Colorado in February. His greatest hope for this study is that “it proves once and for all, without a shadow of a doubt, that convalescent plasma is a valid treatment for viruses like COVID-19.”

Richard also sits on the CONCOR-1 steering committee and raises funds to help support the trial’s costs at Sunnybrook. Read his story here, and read more about the initiative here.

Growing the Good for health care heroes

Offering our support to find a life-saving treatment for this virus is one of the ways BMO is contributing to the health and well-being of our communities, individuals and families at this critical time, and is part of our focus on supporting health care innovation and the well bring of health care workers on the front lines of the fight against COVID-19. Learn more about how BMO is standing up for communities and health care workers during the pandemic, what our employees are doing to help, and our enduring commitment to funding health care research.

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