The United Kingdom (UK) government has put up £8.4 million into research as they seek to tap into the nation’s expertise to develop novel therapies and vaccines targeting SARS-CoV-2. Research funds will be distributed to the Universities of Edinburgh, Glasgow and Dundee and is purportedly the largest contribution to COVID-19 immunology in Britain.
Apparently now three studies, across Britain, receive research pounds from the UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) and the National institute for Health Research (NIHR) to better understand immune responses to SARS-CoV-2, infections, the pathogen behind COVID-19.
UK Coronavirus Immunology Consortium
With £6.5 million, the UK Coronavirus Immunology Consortium, includes major Scottish and English universities participate in this path breaking effort in the UK, as leading immunologists from 17 UK universities come together to collaborate and investigate key questions including:
· How long does immunity from COVID-19 last?
· Why are some people’s immune systems better able to fight off the virus?
· Why do some people’s immune responses cause damage, especially to the lungs?
· How does the virus ‘hide from’ the immune system and how can this be tackled?
· Does immunity to previous infection with seasonal coronaviruses (Which cause the common cold) alter a person’s outcome with SARS-CoV-2?
The UKRI reports that to better understand COVID-19 immune responses, particularly the T cell response, could lead to new therapies for treating COVID-19 as well as inform the effort to develop a vaccine.
The project will use samples and data from major UK COVID-19 projects already underway, and funded by UKRI and NIHR, including ISARIC-4C (characterizing and following more than 75,000 hospitalized patients with COVID-19) and the genomic studies COG-UK (sequencing the SARS-CoV-2 virus genomes) and GenOMICC (sequencing the genomes of people with COVID-19).