Advisory: Give yourself extra time when travelling by car to Toronto General Hospital, Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, or Toronto Rehab University Centre. City of Toronto construction on University Ave. may cause delays.
At UHN, we strive to deliver Compassionate Care & Caring. Learn more about the services and supports that are available to you throughout your journey.
Our UHN programs and services are among the most advanced in the world. We have grouped our physicians,
staff, services and resources into 10 medical programs to meet the needs of our patients and help us make
the most of our resources.
At the heart of everything we do at UHN are our Healthcare Professionals. Refer a patient to one of our 12 medical programs. Learn more about the resources and opportunities available for professional growth.
University Health Network has grown to be one of the largest research and teaching hospital networks in Canada - pioneers in improving the lives of patients. Our long history of health professions education at Toronto General, Toronto Western, Princess Margaret and Toronto Rehab hospitals has consistently advanced the science of education.
University Health Network is a health care and medical research organization in
Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The scope of research and complexity of cases at UHN has made us a national and international
source for discovery, education and patient care.
Being touched by illness affects us in different ways. Many people want to give back to the community
and help others. At UHN, we welcome your contribution and offer different ways you can help so you can find one that suits you.
The Newsroom is the source for media looking for information about UHN or trying to connect with one
of our experts for an interview. It's also the place to find UHN media policies and catch up on our news stories, videos, media releases,
podcasts and more.
(Toronto, Feb. 8, 2023) – A single-dose of the antiviral drug peginterferon lambda reduced by half the risk of hospitalization or a visit to the Emergency Department due to COVID-19, according to a study published today in the
New England Journal of Medicine.
The multi-centre phase 3 TOGETHER clinical trial – designed to test a new therapy in a real setting – evaluated the use of this drug in more than 1,900 outpatients at high risk of developing complications from COVID-19.
Patients who received a single-dose subcutaneous injection of peginterferon lambda within seven days of their first COVID-19 symptom had a 50 per cent lower risk of needing to be admitted to hospital when compared to people who received a placebo.
The trial was one of the first to test treatment in a largely vaccinated population. The research team found that a similar effect was seen in those who had received the vaccine – 84 per cent – as in those who were unvaccinated. The team also saw the benefits of treatment across multiple COVID-19 variants, including the highly transmissible Omicron variant.
This study follows a previous phase 2 trial performed at UHN that showed that peginterferon lambda accelerated clearance of the virus.
“This much larger trial shows us that the antiviral benefits we previously observed translate to clinical benefit. The results conclusively show that this is an effective therapy to treat COVID-19 to reduce the risk of complications," says Dr. Jordan Feld, one of the lead authors of the study and Interim Director of the Toronto Centre for Liver Disease and Co-Director of the Schwartz Reisman Liver Research Centre and the R. Phelan Chair in Translational Liver Research at UHN.
“An important feature of this treatment is that it is not affected by changes or mutations in the virus, because it works by stimulating the body's own response to viral infection," added Dr. Feld, who is also a Senior Scientist at the Toronto General Hospital Research Institute at UHN and a professor in the Department of Medicine at the University of Toronto.
Study participants reported few or no side effects, with no significant differences seen between the group that received the actual treatment and the group that received a matching placebo.
“This could be an important addition to our arsenal to fight COVID-19, especially for high-risk patients who may not be able to use currently available treatments because of side effects or drug interactions with medications they take," says Dr. Feld.
All participants were either aged 50 or older, or had a health condition that put them at higher risk for severe COVID-19, such as diabetes, hypertension, obesity, transplant recipients and cancer patients, among other conditions. The effect of the treatment was even more pronounced in people who received the drug within three days of symptom onset, consistent with other antiviral medications for COVID-19.
The study was done in partnership with the Pontifical Catholic University of Minas Gerais, Brazil, where first author Dr. Gilmar Reis and his team recruited the majority of participants and helped analyze the data. The study was also done in collaboration with Dr. Edward Mills, at McMaster University, and Professor Jeffrey Glenn at Stanford University.
The TOGETHER Study is a phase 3 trial that was based on the
phase 2 study led by Dr. Feld in Toronto last year.
This study was supported by generous donors to UHN Foundation. Medication was supplied by Eiger BioPharmaceuticals, Palo Alto, Calif.
Visual assets for media
University Health Network consists of Toronto General and Toronto Western Hospitals, the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, Toronto Rehabilitation Institute, and The Michener Institute of Education at UHN. The scope of research and complexity of cases at University Health Network has made it a national and international source for discovery, education and patient care. It has the largest hospital-based research program in Canada, with major research in arthritis, cardiology, transplantation, neurosciences, oncology, surgical innovation, infectious diseases, genomic medicine and rehabilitation medicine. University Health Network is a research hospital affiliated with the University of Toronto.
For more information, visit: www.uhn.ca
Senior Public Affairs Advisor, University Health NetworkPhone: +1 (437) 216 4597Email: firstname.lastname@example.org