Press Release

Projects to study key Covid-19 issues

Published on 8 May 2020

University of Dundee projects to help the country in the fight against Covid-19 have been awarded nearly £500,000 in funding.

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Research initiatives at the University’s School of Life Sciences and School of Medicine will help identify those most vulnerable to severe symptoms of coronavirus and establish what happens to those recovering from the illness.

The two projects have received money as part of a £5 million round of funding announced by the Scottish Government to further our understanding of Covid-19, screen potential treatments, and support clinical trials.

Doreen Cantrell, Professor of Cellular Immunology at the School of Life Sciences, has been awarded £294,000 to help identify patients experiencing symptoms of Covid-19 whose condition could significantly worsen.

She said, “Our research has been established to respond to a clinical need for tests that can predict early in Covid-19 infection which patients are at risk of worsening and needing intensive care treatment.

“Dundee has a world-leading centre for mass spectrometry that allows precise quantitative analysis for the many thousands of proteins in white blood cells. Our work will bring together immunologists and mass spectrometry proteomics experts to work with James Chalmers, a leading respiratory disease physician at Ninewells Hospital, to monitor the blood of people infected with Covid-19 and hopefully identify new diagnostic tools.

“We also hope that this work will allow us to identify new drug targets for the treatment of the acute respiratory complications associated with severe Covid-19 infections.”

A second University project, led by Dr David Connell, has received £194,000 to study the long-term impact of Covid-19 on patients, with a focus on the lungs.

An Honorary Lecturer with the University’s School of Medicine and a Consultant Physician in Respiratory Medicine with NHS Tayside, Dr Connell said, “For many people, particularly those who have been unwell and been in High Dependency or Intensive Care, survival from Covid-19 is the start of a long recovery.

“With colleagues across Scotland, our work will follow these patients over time to see what happens to their health, particularly their lungs, to understand what the longer term effects of having Covid-19 might be. Ultimately, it is about trying to recognise that the disease for many people doesn’t end at the hospital door, and trying to better understand the consequences of the infection and their experiences.”

The two projects were funded following the launch of the Scottish Government’s Rapid Research in Covid-19 funding call. The projects are able to start immediately and will be completed within six months.

Enquiries

Jonathan Watson

Media Relations Officer

+44 (0)1382 381489

j.s.watson@dundee.ac.uk

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)