An Oshawa doctor is involved in a clinical trial working with light to fight against COVID-19.
Oshawa family doctor, Michael Zahavi, is one of the researchers on the trial, called COVIDlight, which was started by Toronto company Vielight Inc.
Health Canada approved the trial Sept. 2, which uses light therapy to speed up the recovery of COVID-19 patients.
Nazanin Hosseinkhah, a research scientist and physicist at Vielight Inc., said the light therapy was created in 2018 as a general wellness device.
Two lights are placed on some of the participants in the trial – one on the upper chest and one clipped in the nose. The light therapy being used is red light and near infrared light.
Hosseinkhah said a piece that goes in the nose produces the red light and the chest piece produces the near infrared light. It’s believed the light can enhance energy cells in the body to help in the fight against COVID-19, according to Hosseinkhah.
Dr. Zahavi said when he was looking at this clinical trial, he “investigated (the) kind of science behind it, and it kind of sounded like there was something here and we’re not saying that this works, we’re not saying it doesn’t work, but I completely agree that we should do proper studies to investigate anything,” that will help treat COVID-19.
People with COVID-19 who are not hospitalized can sign up for the clinical trial online, using a website called REDCap Cloud and within 24 hours, they receive the device, no matter where they live in Canada or the United States.
The patients would use the device for 20 minutes a day for 30 days and fill out a survey online each time they use it.
At the end of 30 days, Dr. Zahavi said, participants are instructed to destroy the device.
Hosseinkhah said as of Nov. 12, they only have 15 participants and they need 280 people to join to be considered successful.
Since COVID-19 patients normally isolate at home if they aren’t in need of hospital treatment, Dr. Zahavi said it’s challenging to get the word out about the trial.
As a result, they are using social media platforms, such as Facebook, to get word about the trial to patients.
“The more we get out there, the better…for the positive patients,” said Dr. Zahavi.
People who are pregnant or have HIV or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or any other underlying conditions are not eligible for the trial, said Hosseinkhah.