BMJ Open (2020-12-01)

Study protocol for a multicentre, prospective cohort study of the association of angiotensin II type 1 receptor blockers on outcomes of coronavirus infection

  • Joel Singer,
  • Bin Du,
  • Terry Lee,
  • Michael O Harhay,
  • John C Marshall,
  • Zhiyong Peng,
  • James A. Russell,
  • Arthur Slutsky,
  • Dave Sweet,
  • David M Patrick,
  • Matthew Cheng,
  • Kevin D Burns

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 10, no. 12


Read online

Introduction The COVID-19 epidemic grows and there are clinical trials of antivirals. There is an opportunity to complement these trials with investigation of angiotensin II type 1 receptor blockers (ARBs) because an ARB (losartan) was effective in murine influenza pneumonia.Methods and analysis Our innovative design includes: ARBs; alignment with the WHO Ordinal Scale (primary endpoint) to align with other COVID-19 trials; joint longitudinal analysis; and predictive biomarkers (angiotensins I, 1–7, II and ACE1 and ACE2). Our hypothesis is: ARBs decrease the need for hospitalisation, severity (need for ventilation, vasopressors, extracorporeal membrane oxygenation or renal replacement therapy) or mortality of hospitalised COVID-19 infected adults. Our two-pronged multicentre pragmatic observational cohort study examines safety and effectiveness of ARBs in (1) hospitalised adult patients with COVID-19 and (2) out-patients already on or not on ARBs. The primary outcome will be evaluated by ordinal logistic regression and main secondary outcomes by both joint longitudinal modelling analyses. We will compare rates of hospitalisation of ARB-exposed versus not ARB-exposed patients. We will also determine whether continuing ARBs or not decreases the primary outcome. Based on published COVID-19 cohorts, assuming 15% of patients are ARB-exposed, a total sample size of 497 patients can detect a proportional OR of 0.5 (alpha=0.05, 80% power) comparing WHO scale of ARB-exposed versus non-ARB-exposed patients.Ethics and dissemination This study has core institution approval (UBC Providence Healthcare Research Ethics Board) and site institution approvals (Health Research Ethics Board, University of Alberta; Comite d’etique de la recerche, CHU Sainte Justine (for McGill University and University of Sherbrook); Conjoint Health Research Ethics Board, University of Calgary; Queen’s University Health Sciences & Affiliated Hospitals Research Ethics Board; Research Ethics Board, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre; Veritas Independent Research Board (for Humber River Hospital); Mount Sinai Hospital Research Ethics Board; Unity Health Toronto Research Ethics Board, St. Michael’s Hospital). Results will be disseminated by peer-review publication and social media releases.Trial registration number NCT04510623