Coronavirus

The University of Glasgow to help several countries deal with effects of coronavirus

By Ian Marland at

Researchers at the University of Glasgow are to tackle the effects of COVID-19 in other countries.

Teams from across the university have been awarded £710,330 from the Global Challenges COVID-19 Rapid Response Research Fund.

The funding will cover short-term projects to urgently assist partners in Colombia, Uganda, Tanzania and Malawi.

University of Glasgow

Researchers at the university have been awarded £710,330.

The COVID-19 global pandemic has brought health inequalities across the world into sharp focus.

The crisis has highlighted the disparity between nations’ capacity and capability to test and treat COVID-19.

The research will help global partners respond to the effects of the unprecedented crisis.

Projects include: evaluating the risk to healthcare workers in Malawi (led by Dr Antonia Ho); tracking COVID-19 in Uganda (led by Dr. Jennifer Serwanga); hospital based COVID-19 response capacity development in Tanzania (led by Dr Jo Halliday); and building community-led capacity to respond to COVID-19 in Colombia (led by Dr Mo Hume).

The awards are funded by the Global Challenges Research Funds (GCRF), allocated to the University from the Scottish Funding Council (SFC).

‘Proud’

Prof Dan Haydon, chair of the GCRF Coordination Group and Director of Glasgow Centre for International Development, said: “The University of Glasgow is proud to be able to fund urgent research with our international partners in response to this unprecedented global health emergency.

“The University is committed to world-changing research addressing inequalities and tackling One Health – and these issues are highlighted in the global impacts of COVID-19.

“We hope our researchers – working closely with collaborators and partners from around the world on these projects – can make a real difference in the global efforts against COVID-19.”

Dr Toni Ho’s project, in collaboration with the University of Malawi College of Medicine, aims to validate existing COVID-19 diagnostics and evaluate a novel point-of-care test in Malawi, whilst assessing healthcare worker exposure to SARS-CoV2 in parallel.

In Malawi, a substantial number of COVID-19 infections have been reported in Healthcare Workers; and the lack of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and infection prevention and control measures in healthcare facilities is thought to contribute to the increased risk of infections.

In Uganda, with the true incidence of COVID-19 infection unknown, Jennifer Serwanga, Betty Oliver, Bernard Kikaire and colleagues at the MRC/UVRI & LSHTM Uganda Research Unit, Uganda Virus Research Institute and Uganda Ministry of Health are creating a framework to track and sample COVID-19 cases and establish a biorepository of serum obtained from those that have recovered from the virus.

‘The University is committed to world-changing research addressing inequalities and tackling One Health – and these issues are highlighted in the global impacts of COVID-19.

‘We hope our researchers – working closely with collaborators and partners from around the world on these projects – can make a real difference in the global efforts against COVID-19’

Prof Dan Haydon

Prof Brian Willet from the University of Glasgow Centre for Virus Research will support local efforts to identify immunoassays for countrywide surveillance to detect population exposure.

Dr Jo Halliday will be working with Professor Blandina Mmbaga, from the Kilimanjaro Clinical Research Institute (KCRI), to lead a project aligned to Tanzania’s national COVID-19 response, which will provide critical infection prevention and control support and epidemiological capacity strengthening for the local COVID-19 response.

Dr Mo Hume’s project will work with SCIAF and Diocese of Quibdó to work toward community-led understanding and responses to the challenges of COVID-19 within indigenous and Afro-Colombian communities in Chocó.

Bonnie Dean, Vice Principal for Corporate Engagement & Innovation, said: “The University has a strong focus on international development research, so we are proud to help address the global challenge of COVID-19 through our world-class researchers.”