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COVID-19 Grants

This year in response to the COVID-19 pandemic the BMA Foundation for Medical Research offered an additional grant worth £65,000 for research into new and ongoing research into COVID-19.

We received a total of 57 applications, ranging from basic to clinical science and also on COVID-19 from the perspective of public health and therapeutic angles.

Find out about the winners of the COVID-19 grants and their projects by clicking through the tabs below.

  • The effect of raised cardiovascular risk on COVID-19 incidence and outcomes

    Dr Charlotte Warren-Gash

    The effect of raised cardiovascular risk on COVID-19 incidence and outcomes

    By early August 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic had led to more than 19 million cases and over 715,000 deaths worldwide. Underlying health problems such as heart disease rapidly emerged as a major risk factor for severe illness and death from COVID-19. Cardiac injury is common among patients hospitalised with COVID-19 and increases the risk of poor outcomes. We already know that other acute respiratory infections such as influenza can trigger heart attacks and strokes among vulnerable patients. While COVID-19 affects the cardiovascular system, it is not clear exactly who is vulnerable to poor outcomes of infection. This evidence is urgently needed to guide targeted prevention and treatment strategies.

    In this project, we will investigate the effect of underlying cardiovascular risk profile on severe illness and death from COVID-19. We will use large, powerful anonymised datasets of linked electronic health records from GPs and hospitals as well as national laboratory surveillance data to conduct two studies with complementary designs. Our work will inform the definition of priority groups for vaccination, when in future a vaccine becomes available, as well as other stratified public health measures and treatments for those at raised cardiovascular risk.

     

  • COVID-19 consortium (COVIDsortium): Healthcare worker Bioresource and preliminary analysis: Immune Protection and Pathogenesis in SARS-CoV-2

    Dr Sarah Blagden

    COVID-19 consortium (COVIDsortium): Healthcare worker Bioresource and preliminary analysis: Immune Protection and Pathogenesis in SARS-CoV-2.

    Dr Sarah Blagden’s project “Prognostic markers for COVID-19” was successfully awarded funding from the BMA Foundation in their COVID-19 call. Her team at the University of Oxford have been exploring the factors that link conditions like diabetes and hypertension to risk of COVID-19. They hypothesise that people with these conditions have high levels of cellular stress and this predisposes them to heavier viral infection and worse outcome. Using blood samples collected from 250 London Healthcare Workers, some of whom later contracted SARS-CoV-2, Sarah will be correlating their medical history and outcomes with levels of circulating cell stress markers. This work provides an pathophysiological explanation for COVID-19 risk and a quantitative means of measuring risk. This is important in broadening our understanding of the disease susceptibility as well as defining the factors and interventions that increase or decrease viral risk.

Rosetrees Trust

We would like to extend our special thanks to the Rosetrees Trust for their support in match-funding our 2020 COVID-19 response.

Rosetrees is a private charity, supporting medical researchers at different stages of their careers from PhD Plus to junior group leaders through to more senior investigators with an established track record.

Rosetrees are actively funding a number of COVID-19 research projects at some of the UK’s leading institutions, including the BMA Foundation for Medical Research.

Find out more about the Rosetrees Trust here.