COVID-19 Rapid Response Call Round 2 Success

Twenty-one new studies into the novel coronavirus have been funded by the UK government, including the first clinical drug trial in primary care, vaccine and therapy development, and studying epidemiology, disease transmission, behavioral interventions and policy approaches to COVID-19.   

This second round of projects receive £14.1 million as part of the £24.6 million rapid research response funded by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), and by the Department of Health and Social Care through the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR).    

These projects build on the UK’s world-class expertise and capability in global heath and infectious disease that has already shaped our understanding of the pandemic and is informing measures to tackle it. They support the UK government’s efforts to save lives, protect the vulnerable and support the NHS so it can help those who need it the most.  

UK Research and Innovation Chief Executive, Professor Sir Mark Walport said: “The research community’s response to the Covid-19 crisis has been outstanding. In a matter of weeks, researchers have formed projects to develop potential vaccines, repurpose existing drugs and explore the potential for new medicines, and to examine how the virus is transmitted and causes wide variation in symptoms. Pre-clinical trials of vaccines and clinical trials of drugs are already underway. 

“The pace at which this work has been carried out is tribute to the UK’s world-class research base and its dedication to the fight against this disease.” 

The projects will run over a maximum 18-month period, ensuring timely insights into the current epidemic.  

This research funding has been coordinated with other funders and the World Health Organization (WHO) to ensure there is not duplication of effort and expertise is applied strategically.  

On 30 March, UKRI and NIHR launched a joint rolling call for researchers to apply for funding for short-term projects addressing and mitigating the health, social, economic, cultural and environmental impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak. 

Research projects funded include two from HPRU EZI Researchers:

Professor Miles Carroll, Public Health England, £0.4 million: They will develop an animal model of SARS-CoV-2 infection in non-human primates, which can be used to test if new vaccines and therapies are effective and, importantly, safe. This will enable researchers to address concerns that vaccines that enhance the immune response could potentially worsen COVID-19.  

Professor Sally Sheard, University of Liverpool, and Dr Nina Gobat, University of Oxford, £0.3 million: working with colleagues at the University of Oxford, they will analyse the UK pandemic response by collecting real-time responses from senior policymakers and stakeholders (PHE, DHSC, NHS) and the frontline experiences of healthcare workers, and by studying media and document sources. Their findings will inform senior policymakers.    

 

 

 

Posted on: 18/04/2020