About Us

The COVID-19 Cardiovascular Research Theme is embedded in the BHF Centre of Research Excellence with research spanning from basic to clinical and population science cross-cutting the ICAMs Cardiac, Vascular, Metabolic and Diabetes, Renal and Stroke Research Themes.

Our researchers are also collaborating with Institutes across the University including the MRC Centre for Virus Research.

The COVID-19 pandemic triggered by the recent emergence of a new beta coronavirus strain, SARS-CoV-2, is arguably the greatest publichealth challenge in a generation.

In many patients SARS-CoV-2 can be a mild or even asymptomatic infection. However, certain sub-groups of patients are at higher risk, including black and ethnic minority groups, older individuals, and those with co-morbidities including obesity, diabetes, hypertension and cardiovascular disease. COVID-19 infection can lead to a severe respiratory illness and an overwhelming immune response requiring hospital treatment and associated with high morbidity and mortality.

Respiratory COVID-19 illness can also lead to systemic infection, affecting multiple organs including the heart, blood vessels and kidneys. The SARS-CoV-2 infects cells via a receptor expressed on the surface of cells, angiotensin converting enzyme 2, that has an additional function as a regulator of cardiovascular function in many cells and organs.

Objectives

  • To advance new knowledge on the risk factors for acquiring COVID-19 infection, with a focus on cardiovascular co-morbidities and ethnicity.
  • To investigate and understand the mechanisms of cardiovascular damage following SARS-CoV-2 infection.
  • To lead and support multidisciplinary, multicentre healthcare and research initiatives for survivors of COVID-19.
  • To develop small molecules as novel treatments for COVID-19.
  • To improve treatments for groups at particular risk of poor outcomes from COVID-19 –chronic kidney disease, dementia, diabetes, frailty, obesity and stroke
  • To lead and support BHF-NIHR Portfolio studies