Year of the Pause

We got to thinking about what literary reference might best sum up the year 2020; and our twist on the famous opening sentence of a Charles Dickens novel came to mind: It was the best of teams at the worst of times.

When the pandemic was declared, PHRI study teams with our national leaders around the world immediately began to adapt their practices to keep their vital studies going. Some of our researchers were also part of the immediate global drive to start investigating COVID-19 treatment and prevention. There were quick trial launches and equally speedy pivots in study design, as the data kept changing.

We experienced a significant setback, as did all Canadian researchers, when the Spring 2020 CIHR federal grant program was suddenly cancelled (and then reinstated in September). All levels of government – as well as many sponsors, large trusts and charitable foundations – pivoted to put the majority of their efforts into beating COVID-19.

Year of the Pivot

Despite the many obstacles thrown up by the pandemic, PHRI has experienced tremendous accomplishments in its global trials and studies during 2020. Just a couple of examples. (There are so many outstanding efforts by our study teams!)

  • TIPS-3, already facing complications due to varying global regulations, was slated to finish up during the Spring 2020 lockdown, yet blazed through with extra support from Wellcome Trust and unflagging dedication by the PHRI study team in Canada and national leaders in India and the Philippines, and others. All in time for release of the study’s significant findings at AHA 2020; a Herculean effort by all!
  • ARTESiA, involving 230 sites in Canada, the U.S. and more than a dozen European countries, kept recruiting steadily during the pandemic, reaching 3,500 of its target 4,000 participants in early fall 2020!

The video below shows the dedication and close teamwork by PHRI study teams around the world, including for PURE, POISE-3, INVICTUS, and others. We launched a months-long PHRItogether campaign of sharing videos, photos and stories with each other as a way to stay connected and be “internationally together apart.”

Although we enter 2021 with some uncertainties still around the pandemic, one thing is certain for PHRI…

We’ve had – and continue to have – the best of teams at the worst of times.


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