COVID-19 funded research projects

ISARIC - Coronavirus Clinical Characterisation Consortium

Co-leads

  • Kenneth Baillie (University of Edinburgh)
  • M.G. Semple (University of Liverpool)
  • Peter Openshaw (Imperial College London) 

Glasgow researchers

From the MRC-University of Glasgow Centre for Virus Research:

Partner organisations

  • University of Cambridge
  • University of Edinburgh
  • University of Glasgow
  • Imperial College London
  • University of Liverpool
  • University of Oxford
  • Public Health England

Project summary

The researchers 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?
  • What are the effects of drugs used in patients with COVID-19?
  • How long are people infectious for and from which bodily fluids?
  • 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 carried out 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. 

More information is available at the UK Research and Innovation webpage.

Funder

  • Medical Research Council

Total award

  • £4.9m

Coronavirus: the science explained

Led by

  • UKRI team

Glasgow researchers

From the MRC-University of Glasgow Centre for Virus Research:

Partner organisations

  • European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL)
  • Imperial College of London
  • Kings College London
  • London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM)
  • University of Oxford

Project summary

To provide a website for the public with reliable, detailed, and up-to-date science information on coronavirus and COVID-19.

Project details are available at the UKRI webpage.

Funder

  • United Kingdom Research and Innovation (UKRI)

COVID-19: Understanding Chinese government containment measures and their societal impacts

Led by

Glasgow researchers

Partner organisations

  • Manchester Metropolitan University
  • Peking University

Project summary

We urgently need to understand Chinese government measures to contain COVID-19. Rates of infection seem to be slowing in China, but they are accelerating worldwide. Given the apparent success of Chinese measures, other countries may consider adopting them. Yet we do not fully understand China’s measures — which extend well beyond health and clinical management — or their effects.

Anecdotal evidence indicates that some measures created significant new problems, both for containing the virus (e.g. closing transport from the outbreak centre hampered the inward flow of medical supplies) and for members of Chinese society (e.g. quarantining those infected sometimes left dependents without carers).

This project will use documentary policy and media analysis and fieldwork in four localities in China, to understand:

  • the full range of measures taken by the Chinese government
  • how they were communicated to the population
  • their urban and rural societal effects (as well as their role in containing the virus)
  • how the public responded to the measures
  • whether public responses fed back to change policies.

As the epidemic evolves in China we will regularly prepare short reports and online or in-person briefings that track policies and discuss evidence of their effects and arising ethical issues to create valuable resources for policy makers internationally.  

Read more: UofG to lead research into China's containment measures

Funder

  • Medical Research Council

Total award

  • £334,000

ASTERIX: Adaptive Salvage Treatment based on Endotype-directed anti-viRals and Immunomodulation – an NHS framework to enable research and clinical trials

Led by

Co-investigator and institutions

Project summary

Scotland is well-positioned to contribute to the urgent need for COVID-19 treatments. To do this we need to understand the disease and quickly bring new treatments to Scottish patients in trials. We will build the ASTERIX framework, which will be integrated into clinical systems so that frontline staff are not burdened, using repurposed NHS infrastructure and staff. ASTERIX will allow us to learn quickly, while under huge clinical pressures, and streamline patients into trials. Our learning will include how to treat COVID-19 and how to ensure that critical trial results are robust and relevant to Scottish patients.

Funder

Chief Scientist Office 

Total award

£17,000


Glasgow Early Treatment Arm FavIpiravir (GETAFIX)

A randomized controlled study of favipiravir as an early treatment arm of ASTERIX in COVID-19 hospitalized patients.

Led by

  • Dr Janet Scott, MRC - University of Glasgow Centre for Virus Research (CVR), University of Glasgow

Co-investigators and institutions

Project summary

Favipiravir is used in Japan to treat influenza and can kill SARS-CoV2 in the laboratory4. The drug is safe in healthy volunteers and reached concentrations in the body needed to kill the virus. In China, 35 COVID-19 patients treated with Favipiravir recovered in 4 days compared to those treated with Lopinavir/ritonavir (45 patients) who took 11 days. We propose to treat COVID-19 patients with Favipiravir to see if it improves their chances of recovery without needing admission to intensive care, study what happens once Favipiravir is metabolised by the body, and check for drug resistance.  

Funder

Chief Scientist Office

Total award

£156,510


Hypertension, inhibitors of the renin angiotensin system and COVID-19

Led by

  • Professor Rhian Touyz, Institute of Cardiovascular and Medical Sciences, Queen Elizabeth University Hospital, University of Glasgow

Co-investigators and institutions

From the Institute of Cardiovascular and Medical Sciences, Queen Elizabeth University Hospital:

Project summary

There is a lot of coverage in the media that certain drugs to treat high blood pressure (hypertension) may worsen COVID-19. However, there is no clinical evidence to support this and there is much confusion for both patients and doctors. Many patients are stopping their hypertension medication, which is dangerous as this could lead to severe heart disease and even death. Our study will examine if hypertensive patients have more severe COVID-19 than patients who do not have pre-existing hypertension. We will also assess if certain blood pressure drugs aggravate or improve infection. This is especially important in Scotland where the rate of hypertension is high. Our study will provide information to guide doctors and patients in the coming months as we treat COVID.

Funder

Chief Scientist Office

Total award

£79,846


Cardiac Imaging in SARS Coronavirus disease-19 (CISCO-19)

Led by

Co-investigators and institutions

  • R Wereski, UofE
  • D Lower, Clinical Informatics, A&E
  • C Church, Pulmonary Vasc Disease
  • K Mangion, Cardiology
  • A Ho, MRC, University of Glasgow Centre for Virus Research
  • G Roditi, Radiologist
  • C Bagot, Haemostatis
  • S Wright, Cardiac Pathologist
  • Professor A McConnachie, Robert Centre for Biostatistics
  • Professor R Touyz, University of Glasgow
  • Professor C Delles, University of Glasgow
  • Professor N Sattar, Vasc Biomedicine, MHSGGC, University of Glasgow

Project summary

One-in-four patients with COVID-19 pneumonia develop life-threatening heart problems. Our research idea is that virus can directly infect the heart. We will study which patients are at-risk of heart injury and why only some patients suffer heart problems. MRI scans help doctors identify heart damage and its causes and explain NHS tests eg troponin. During a 3-month period, hospitalised patients with COVID-19 will have blood tests and then a heart-lung scan after discharge. We will clarify links between the heart/lungs & risk factors to support development of preventive therapies.

Funder

Chief Scientist Office

Total award

£47,940


CARP: COVID-19 Advanced Respiratory Physiological Platform

Led by

  • Dr Chris Carlin, NRS Senior Investigator, NHSGGC

Co-investigators and institutions

  • Dr David Lowe, WoS Innovation Clinical Lead
  • Dr Malcolm Sim, NRS Senior Investigator, NHSGGC

SME Partners:

  • Dr Bruce Henderson, Forensic Physician / Owner Altair Medical
  • Mr Paul McGinness, Director
  • Dr Shane Burns, PhD, Lead Data Scientist StormID

Project summary

Patients with COVID-19 pneumonia are at risk for sudden deterioration. Altair wearable sensor measures breathing events to monitor patients at risk for opiate overdose.  The Lenus platform (StormID) is established in NHSGGC for integration and analysis of clinical and sensor data in respiratory patients. We will re-orientate this to gather data about respiratory failure during COVID-19 and develop a dashboard with real-time respiratory monitoring and threshold alerts to monitor COVID-19 patients.

Funder

Chief Scientist Office

Total Award

£123,850


Viral and Immunological Correlates of Clinical Severity and Response to Anti-Viral Therapy for COVID-19

Led by

Co-investigators and institutions

University of Glasgow:

GGCHB NHS:

  • Dr Michael Murphy

Project summary

The clinical outcome of COVID-19 is ultimately determined by viral replication in the face of the host immunity. The latter can either control viral infection or exacerbate disease due to uncontrolled inflammatory processes that damages tissues. Hence, in order to establish the efficacy of antiviral therapies and determine whether stratification can aid clinical decisions in COVID19 patients, we need to identify correlates of disease severity and response to treatment. This proposal aims to fully determine the dynamic viral and immunological changes occurring during the different clinical stages of COVID-19. We will use a clinical trial for Favipiravir (GETAFIX, GLA3), an antiviral drug as our test case to develop our biomarkers but can roll this project out to support other trials within ASTERIX (GLA2).

Funder

Chief Scientist Office

Total award

£319,473


Markers of disease: identifying bacterial secondary infections in COVID+ patients

Led by

Co-investigators and institutions

  • Professor Michael Barrett, University of Glasgow
  • Professor Alistair Leonard, University of Glasgow, NHS
  • Dr Malcolm Sim, NHS
  • Dr Malcolm Watson, NHS

Project summary

The current COVID pandemic has led to an urgent need to better understand how and why certain patients become seriously ill or die. Secondary bacterial infections are a major contributing factor in a proportion of these more serious cases. Using our established methods to study bacterial sepsis, we want to analyse COVID+ patients and perform metabolomics to measure key markers we know are associated with bacterial infection. The result: more accurate and appropriate diagnosis and allocation of anti-bacterial treatment. We will select the most common examples of Gram positive and Gram negative organisms associated with secondary infections for detailed analysis.

Funder

Chief Scientist Office

Total award

£56,970


Understanding longer-term health impacts of social distancing and behavioural interventions introduced to prevent the spread of infection in the population

Led by

Co-investigators and institutions

Project summary

People have had to change drastically how they live their lives to achieve social distancing to prevent the spread of COVID-19.  There is growing concern that social distancing and other quarantining measures introduced by Government will adversely affect general population health and mental health. This proposal aims to understand the nature of the impact of such measures on Scottish people by: i) identifying the key health and mental health concerns and; ii) examining how people’s experiences change over the first 4-months of social distancing. The findings will inform future Government policy and action to prevent or mitigate any adverse effects.

Funder

Chief Scientist Office

Total award

£37,000


Social & health impacts of COVID-19 suppression on vulnerable groups

Led by

Co-investigators and institutions

University of Glasgow

Project summary

This research will investigate the impact of behavioural measures in response to COVID-19 on four key vulnerable groups in Scotland and the organisations that support them. It will identify challenges and adaptations, employing qualitative methodologies. Research evidence will be continuously disseminated via a website and outcomes will include developing resources to inform policy development, improve worker training, and support third sector organisations.

Funder

Chief Scientist Office

Total award

£186,869

 


Funder updates

Please see below links to funder updates related to COVID-19