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The research team at the world-leading The Roslin Institute led by Dr Kenny Baillie, is to receive a much-needed injection of government funding to track the spread of the coronavirus by using clues in its genetic code.

We are hugely excited that our existing research partnership with the Institute, co-funded by Sepsis Research (FEAT), is jump-starting their research into Covid-19 – the infrastructure created by Sepsis Research could lead to important answers that will help with the public health and clinical response to this new infection.

As part of a funding package announced today by the UK government, the research at the Roslin Institute is one of six new studies into the novel coronavirus to receive funding from UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), and by the Department of Health and Social Care through the National Institute for Health Research.   

As detailed in the government announcement, Dr Kenneth Baillie University of Edinburgh, Prof. Peter Openshaw Imperial College London, & Prof. Calum Semple University of Liverpool have been funded £4.9 million. 

They will collect samples and data from COVID-19 patients in the UK to answer many urgent questions about the virus and provide real-time information, which could help to control the outbreak and improve treatment for patients.

Their questions include:

  • who in the population is at higher risk of severe illness;
  • what is the best way to diagnose the disease;
  • what is happening in their immune systems to help or harm them;
  • closely monitoring the effects of drugs used in patients with COVID-19;
  • how long are people infectious for and from which bodily fluids; and
  • are people infected with other viruses (e.g. flu) at the same time?

They will recruit at least the first 1,300 UK patients who agree to take part over the next year and aim to start communicating their initial results in months. The team’s capacity builds on planning over the past 8 years as part of the International Severe Acute Respiratory Infection Consortium, and it includes co-investigators from six UK universities and Public Health England. 

Read the full announcement here.

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