Liverpool COVID-19 research gets £1.1M local funding boost

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Twenty-two new COVID-19 projects led by researchers at the University of Liverpool and Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine (LSTM) are set to begin thanks to a £1.1 million local funding boost.

The current coronavirus crisis has seen an extraordinary response across the country, nowhere more so than in Liverpool. In response to the pandemic, more than 150 researchers from both institutions are working together alongside NHS and industry partners to deliver an ambitious and innovative programme of work.

To build on the £10 million of available external grant funding that Liverpool researchers have already secured, 22 new projects have been awarded a share of £1.1 million of pump-priming funding.

One project to receive funding is the ‘Liverpool Household COVID-19 Cohort Study’, which plans to track and collect COVID-19 data from households across Liverpool over the coming months. The project, led by Professor Neil French at the University of Liverpool, will provide reliable evidence of the extent of the COVID-19 pandemic in the community, how transmission is taking place, and better understand the clinical characteristics of the disease. This information is essential to better understand the necessary steps needed to move out of the current lockdown period and develop future control strategies.

Other new projects will explore areas such as disease in children and in pregnancy, new therapeutic agents, the spread of COVID-19 misinformation and the impact of COVID-19 on mental health.

The coordinated Liverpool research response to COVID-19 is being led by the Centre of Excellence in Infectious Diseases Research (CEIDR) and the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Health Protection Research Unit (HPRU) in Emerging and Zoonotic Infections – both established University of Liverpool and LSTM joint initiatives.

Professor William Hope, Director of CEIDR, said: “Researchers from different disciplines have coalesced from across the city, bringing different skillsets and a typically pragmatic approach to finding new solutions to benefit people of Liverpool and the UK.”

“This pump priming funding will be used in two major ways. Firstly, to better understand the virus, the ways it is transmitted and new ways to protect against infection. Secondly, to help develop new diagnostics and therapeutics for COVID-19.”

Professor Tom Solomon, Director of the NIHR HPRU in Emerging and Zoonotic Infections, said: “This new initiative is bringing all life sciences researchers in Liverpool together in an unprecedented way. Every day there are new scientists joining the Liverpool team who are working together night and day to tackle this virus. During the Ebola outbreak we had a very good response from research community in Liverpool, but the response to the COVID-19 pandemic has been extraordinary.”

The pump-priming funding has been provided through the support of the University of Liverpool, Alder Hey Children’s Hospital Charity, CEIDR Innovations and the NIHR HPRU in Emerging and Zoonotic Infections.

For more information on the 22 projects please visit the CEIDR website.

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