LONDON, ONT -- Researchers in London, Ont. are working directly with COVID-19 patients to help identify if there are already existing therapies that could help treat certain cases.

The research at Lawson Health Research Institute and Western University is looking to verify early reports that COVID-19 produces a heightened immune response in some patients.

Dr. Douglas Fraser with London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC) says mortality rates could be improved with immunosuppressive therapies but that evidence is lacking which is why they need this study.

“If a hyper inflammatory response is found to contribute to greater adverse outcomes from COVID-19, there are current therapies available to help these cases,” Fraser said in a release.

“This study could also inform why some people become critically ill and others do not, and help determine who will respond to certain therapies.”

Researchers are already working with COVID-19 patients out of LHSC by taking daily blood samples to be tested for specific biomarkers which will then be compared to people with other infections and healthy individuals.

The research will also help provide an overall understanding of how the immune system reacts to COVID-19.

This project out of Lawson and Western is one example of London’s extensive research community working to combat COVID-19.

Thousands of research projects across the city have been put on hold due to COVID-19, including many at Western University, in order to carry on with research essential to the novel coronavirus.