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03 Dec 2021

Two Maynooth University research studies concerning Covid-19 get funding grants

Science Foundation Ireland funding

Two Maynooth University research studies concerning Covid-19 get funding grants

Maynooth University

Two Maynooth University projects have today been awarded funding under the Science Foundation Ireland-coordinated research and innovation response to the Covid-19 pandemic. Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys TD, today announced an investment of €1.4 million in 11 projects under the SFI-coordinated research and innovation response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Research undertaken by Prof Andrew Parnell will look at developing tools to predict the disease and economic related consequences of easing Covid-19 restrictions.

The second research project, led by Prof Sean Doyle, will develop two new antibody tests to help identify who has been exposed to the virus and who may have developed immunity.

Prediction tool

Prof Andrew Parnell will lead a team at the Hamilton Institute, Maynooth University, to generate computational tools to help Ireland predict the epidemiological (disease-related) and economic consequences of removing interventions during the path to recovery in the Covid-19 pandemic.

The project will focus on putting rigorously-tested computational models for medium term forecasting in place that will enable the state to make evidence-based decisions about the impact of relaxing Covid-19 restrictions.

The models developed in this project will forecast the likelihood of spatial spread of the disease as travel routes re-open. It will forecast the impact of testing for the virus at borders and of relaxing interventions of different types at home and abroad. It will also forecast economic recovery by mapping financial indicators from multiple countries. This will support a faster, safer recovery to normality.

Tests

A project led by Prof Sean Doyle, Biotechnology Programme Coordinator at Maynooth University, will develop two new tests for antibodies against SARS-CoV-2. The project will help to identify who has been exposed to the virus and who may have developed immunity to Covid-19.

The tests will also help to find people with high levels of antibodies who can donate them to protect others. The consortium of expertise includes Dr David Fitzpatrick, Dr Rebecca Owens and Dr Ozgur Bayram, at the Department of Biology and the Kathleen Lonsdale Institute for Human Health Research. The Maynooth University led project is in collaboration with the Irish Blood Transfusion Service (IBTS) and National Virus Reference Laboratory (NVRL).

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