University Health Network and Queen’s University Ontario to test a non‐anti‐viral therapeutic to improve outcomes of COVID-19 in 337 patients

Research title

Furosemide as Supportive Therapy for COVID‐19 (FaST for COVID)


With funding from LifeArc, University Health Network and Queen’s University at Kingston will perform a clinical trial to investigate inhaled furosemide as a supportive therapy for COVID-19 on hospitalised patients and determine whether it can reduce the number that require ventilation or reduce the duration of ventilation. If successful, Furosemide would be an easily accessible, cheap medicine for the worldwide treatment of COVID-19.

Research organisations


Potential of repurposed therapeutic for COVID-19 pandemic

The University Health Network and Queen’s University have secured funding from LifeArc to perform a double‐blind, placebo‐controlled, randomized, parallel‐group clinical trial, referred to as FaST. The primary objective will be to establish the safety and efficacy of inhaled furosemide as a treatment for respiratory failure secondary to a COVID‐19 infection. Patients with a confirmed diagnosis of COVID‐19 will receive either the study agent or a placebo in a treatment that will last between 15 and 60 days. FaST will recruit 122 hospitalised patients with severe respiratory distress directly from the intensive care unit (ICU).

University Health Network and Queen’s University will trial at sites in Canada initially. However, given the urgency of the pandemic, they have already initiated preliminary collaborations with hospitals in Tanzania, Kenya and Sri Lanka.

The identification of Furosemide as a potential therapeutic for COVID-19 arose from a serendipitous finding from the Weaver laboratory at the Krembil Research Institute (UHN) extending novel approaches to brain inflammation and to inflammatory conditions elsewhere in the body, such as COVID-19.