Queens University Belfast has been awarded a grant of £295,626 to find a treatment for Covid-19.
This funding comes as a first round of projects that is expected to receive £10.5 million as part of the £20 million rapid research response funded by UK Research and Innovation, and by the Department of Health and Social Care through the National Institute for Health Research.
This project will be headed by Ultan Powers, a Professor of Molecular Virology. Professor Powers team will comprise of postdoctoral researchers, PhD students and a technician. Combined, they aim to screen medications and drugs approved for human consumption against Covid-19.
Professor Power stated that "The thousands of deaths caused by coronavirus have been as a result of how the virus attacks the respiratory system, both directly and through stimulating violent immune responses. Our expertise in this area, coupled with the state-of-art models of lung tissue infection in my laboratory enable us to explore in detail how respiratory viruses cause disease. This puts us in a unique position to find an urgently-needed treatment.”
These drugs will be respiratory and antiviral drugs which directly affect the immune system. The team will use these drugs on SARS-CoV-2-infected cells to determine whether they stop the virus or quell the symptoms and immune responses which have been noted to case serious damage to lung tissues.
We are on a mission to beat #COVID19: “When facing a pandemic, it is crucial that we find treatment options as soon as possible. Our research will focus on drugs that are already approved for human use to see whether they can be repurposed." @UltanPower— Queen's University Belfast (@QUBelfast) March 23, 2020
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