How members are meeting the challenges of COVID-19

Find out about how our members are meeting the challenges of COVID-19, in research, in teaching & learning and in student experience.

 

 

 

 

 

Nominees for Champion in the time of COVID

COVID Champion Nominees 2020

Fudan University

How Wuhan lockdown contributes to global virus control

Research shows Wuhan’s travel ban contributed to global COVID-19 control by reducing nearly 80% of outbound infected cases.

Since the epidemic outbreak, the city of Wuhan has been locked down for the prevention of disease transmission to other regions. During the lockdown, transport networks and outgoing flights were suspended to prevent the exportation of infected cases. A study published on March 6 in Science, titled “The effect of travel restrictions on the spread of the 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak”, shows with data how closing down Wuhan has mitigated virus transmission. The research was conducted by an international team of scientists, including Matteo Chinazzi from Northeastern University (USA), M. Elizabeth Halloran from University of Washington, and Yu Hongjie, professor from the School of Public Health, Fudan University, etc. The study shows that the quarantine measure in Wuhan slowed down the progression of the disease by 3 to 5 days in Mainland China, while reducing by 77% case exportations from China to the rest of the world until mid-February. Find out more.

Towards an effective mRNA vaccine against 2019-nCoV

The first demonstration of virus-like particles expressed from a modified mRNA cocktail

The COVID-19 outbreak in China has been kept under control thanks to tremendous efforts from the government and the people. The rising occurrence of coronaviruses over the past decades, however, seems to indicate that they may become seasonal threats like flu viruses. It is, therefore, imperative to develop such vaccines against coronaviruses, especially COVID-19 at the moment. 

A joint research team from Fudan University, Shanghai JiaoTong University, and RNACure Biopharma is currently working on a vaccine for COVID-19. Led by Professor Lin Jinzhong from Fudan University, the research team is developing a messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccine against COVID-19. Find out more.  

 

Korea University
Korea University COVID Seminar

 

The future direction of a Post COVID-19 society...Scholars and experts gather together to provide collective intelligence insight to the direction of a post COVID-19 society.  Korea University Medicine hosts The Next-Normal Conference 2020 streaming live on July 23rd 9:30am(UTC+9, Korean time) on Youtube.

The event will be held as a "hybrid conference" that combines online and offline for about three hours, and anyone can participate through the official YouTube account of Korea University Medicine (https://www.youtube.com/user/KUMCbroadcast). As it is an international conference, simultaneous Korean-English interpretation will be provided.

 

KU Leuven

The Fight Against the Coronavirus Continues Unabated

It’s a race against time for researchers from KU Leuven and UZ Leuven. Fortunately, they’re not in it alone. In the last month the COVID-19 Fund has received numerous donations that are now providing a strong impetus to multiple research projects. Everything from the search for a vaccine and antivirals, to researching the immune systems of COVID-19 patients. Together they’re making a difference. The coronavirus has completely upended our society. Researchers from KU Leuven and UZ Leuven are trying to understand the epidemic as well as possible to give the best advice on the right measures to take. Together, they’re utilising their expertise to successfully guide Belgium through this crisis. Find out more.

 

Lund University

COVID Symptom Tracker app launched in Sweden

Researchers at Lund University in Sweden have launched a free app to help map the spread of infection in Sweden and increase knowledge of the coronavirus. “Data from the app will give us a clearer picture of the development of the disease and why some people only experience mild symptoms while others get seriously ill and die”, says Paul Franks, professor of genetic epidemiology. Find out more.

Can stem cells treat COVID-19?

Niels-Bjarne Woods, a researcher at Lund University in Sweden, has developed lung-specific mesenchymal stem cells to treat inflammation of the lungs and fibrosis. This research now may be the needed breakthrough for treatment of the severe respiratory issues related to COVID-19. A clinical study may soon be underway contingent on a successful application to the Swedish Medical Products Agency. Find out more.

 

McMaster University

COVID-19 research in McMaster news

From the spread and prevention of COVID-19 to its social and economic impacts, McMaster’s world-leading experts share their insights on the global coronavirus outbreak. Find out more.

Evidence shows cloth masks may help against COVID-19

Evidence shows that cloth masks, particularly those with several layers of cotton cloth, block droplet and aerosol contamination of the environment, which may reduce transmission of COVID-19.

“The point is not that some particles can penetrate the mask, but that some particles are stopped, particularly outwardly, from the wearer,” said first author Catherine Clase, associate professor of medicine at McMaster University and a nephrologist of St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton. Find out more.

 

National University of Singapore

Former NUS startup company has been approved to distribute a rapid test kit for COVID-19

A rapid test kit for COVID-19 launched by former NUS startup company, medtech firm Biolidics Limited, has been approved for distribution and sale in the US for use by clinical laboratories or healthcare workers for point-of-care testing. The company has also appointed an exclusive distributor in the US for its rapid test kit. This adds on to its earlier approvals and authorisations in other countries including Singapore. Find out more.

Fighting infectious diseases using AI

As the COVID-19 crisis continues to develop, researchers around the world are attempting to find the most effective treatment to combat the poorly understood virus behind this disease. 

Traditionally, when dangerous new bacterial and viral infections emerge, the response is to develop a treatment that combines several different drugs. However, this process is laborious and time-consuming, with drug combinations chosen sub-optimally, and selection of doses is a matter of trial and error. This costly and inefficient way of developing a treatment is problematic when a rapid response is crucial to tackle a global pandemic and resources need to be conserved. Find out more.

How should the world change after COVID-19? Could it be time to swap a fast car for a slower, sturdier one?  

 

Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile

UC researchers lead development of Chilean coronavirus vaccine

The project, which will be carried out at the Catholic University, involves researchers from the Millennium Institute of Immunology and Immunotherapy and the Biomedicine Consortium (BMRC). The team of young scientists, led by academic Alexis Kalergis, seeks to have a prototype that can be evaluated in clinical studies. Find out more.

UC will train the health network in the use of a technique to treat patients Covid-19

After a visit by the Minister of Health, Jaime Mañalich, to the Clinical Hospital of the in Marcoleta, the Secretary of State highlighted the procedure of Oxygen Therapy that is carried out in the network. For his part, the rector Ignacio Sánchez said that there will be an agreement that will allow the experts of the institution to train personnel in its use. 

The Ministry of Health requested the UC the task of dissemination and training in High Flow Oxygen Therapy (UFO) to the teams of the integrated health network, in order to prevent the use and potential damage of invasive mechanical ventilation.

According to the experience in the UC Christus Health Network venues , the use of this therapy reduces by 40% the requirement for invasive mechanical ventilation in a patient with severe respiratory failure. Among the advantages of this procedure is that it reduces the need for mechanical ventilation, shortens the treatment period, means less sequelae and discomfort for the patient. Find out more.  

 

Shanghai Jiao Tong University

Stemoscope ausculation offers advantages in Covid19 patient

It is not easy to get such a registration because fully secured doctors, like doctor Zhang, cannot use their traditional stethoscope. To obtain such registrations, a stemoscope is used by the Medical Team operating on a 5G medical platform. It allows doctors to do real-time auscultation on the smartphone. Barring lung noises, it can also detect heart tones and position of the feeding tube. And in this way this contributes to monitoring the patients disease status. Find out more.

Shanghai specialists to track coronavirus origins in Wuhan

A team consisting of six medical experts from Shanghai's Ruijin Hospital left for Wuhan, Hubei Province, to carry out etiological and diagnostic research on COVID-19 in the heart of the current epidemic. The team was ordered by the National Health Commission, and its members will study the etipathological processes of the virus' origins to provide more scientific data for clinical diagnosis and treatment, as well as support for follow-up research.

The team will face a different set of risks compared with doctors and nurses treating patients. The group received special safety training on Sunday night and each member cut their hair short as a precaution against infection. Find out more.  

 

Tecnologico de Monterrey

What will life be like after COVID-19?

Researchers and specialists from Tec de Monterrey come together to launch the Think Tank PostCOVID-19 initiative in order to seek comprehensive solutions to the new challenges that the pandemic is causing. Find out more.

Research strategies against COVID-19 of Tec de Monterrey

Tec de Monterrey has the Model of Intervention of Tec before the COVID-19. This model is carried out in collaboration with key actors at all levels of government: municipal, state and federal, and with companies, universities and communities.

The Institution is identifying demands from society to generate quick solutions to face the challenges of the pandemic as well as those that we will seek to implement to resolve the financial, social, health and other consequences once the emergency has been overcome. Find out more.  

 

Waseda University

Dealing with corona stress

To prevent the spread of new coronavirus infection, everyone is spending more time at home. While living unfamiliar regardless of age or sex, many people may be accumulating some kind of stress without realizing it.

At Waseda University, we send opinions from various perspectives, but among them, we would like to introduce some of the opinions that are likely to be helpful in corona damage (affiliation and title are those at the time of writing). Find out more.

 

University of Amsterdam

University of Amsterdam scientists launch website that seeks ideal COVID-19 exit strategy

The intelligent lockdown is certainly necessary, but is also causing serious damage to society on almost every conceivable level. That’s why it’s essential to resume ‘normal life’ as quickly as possible. So it’s a quest for the ideal exit strategy. The new crowdsourcing website Strategies versus Corona invites network researchers, programmers, data scientists, psychologists and economists to come up with exit strategies and also to directly calculate the consequences. Find out more.

Anthropologists about Life after Corona

Danny de Vries together with Jeannette Pols has received a NWO grant for a project called “Impact of Social Isolation on Vulnerable Populations during COVID-19”.

The aim of this mixed-method social science study is to document the challenges, experiences and creativity of socially vulnerable Dutch populations during social isolation. What kinds of problems do people run into? Do they find solutions to these problems? What (other) solutions can be generated? How can policy support these solutions?

The aim of the project is to provide actionable lessons about measures that can be taken to sustain social distancing. The rationale for this is that, if we have better insight in what the challenges are for vulnerable people to endure social isolation, we can develop policy and communication strategies to remedy this. Hence, social isolation can be made more humane and easier to bear. Using existing networks, we will conduct digital ethnographic and survey research among professionals, family, and others caring for groups regarded as vulnerable. Find out more.  

 

University of Auckland

Access a snapshot of COVID-19 research projects including modelling transmission and infection in New Zealand.  

 

University of Birmingham

COVID CORPUS 

The Institute for Global Innovation (IGI) at the University of Birmingham is establishing an international open-access database for research activity on Covid-19. They have called it COVID CORPUS (COVID-19  Collaborative Research Portal and knowledge Utility System). The database would include all forms of research, including health-related, as well as socioeconomic, behavioural and cultural, etc. The aim is to facilitate the compilation of all ongoing research activity on COVID-19 globally, and so decrease the chance of duplication, and help increase the possibility of collaboration and coordination of research on COVID-19.

The initiative will be curated by volunteer ‘editors’ from the academic and clinical community from across the world. UoB anticipate that it will go live in 1-2 weeks. As rapid and wide socialisation of the initiative nationally and internationally will of course be key to its success. Colleagues in the U21 network are asked to encourage researchers to register their ongoing research on this system, and to share it with colleagues externally as well.  It is also possible for researchers to volunteer to act as an editor – please contact Gibran Butt on G.F.Butt@bham.ac.uk if interested.

How UoB Research is supporting the global effort UoB's researchers across the academic spectrum are working together to address the COVID-19 pandemic in a host of innovative projects. Their research-intensive culture means they are playing a pivotal role in the global challenge to beat the virus.

Current work includes boosting laboratory testing capacity, coordinating clinical trials of new interventions and providing practical support to NHS workers. In addition, many of UoB's academic clinicians are now working full time in the NHS fighting the novel coronavirus and its devastating effects. Our world-leading expertise is making a real difference to people’s lives during this emergency. Find out more.

University of Birmingham joins COVID-19 genome sequencing alliance to map spread of coronavirus The Government and the UK’s Chief Scientific Adviser have today (Monday 23 March) backed the UK’s leading clinicians and scientists to map how COVID-19 spreads and evolves using whole-genome sequencing. Through a £20 million investment, the consortium will look for breakthroughs that help the UK respond to this and future pandemics, and save lives.

The COVID-19 Genomics UK Consortium - COG-UK - comprised of the NHS, Public Health Agencies and academic institutions – including the University of Birmingham - will deliver large scale, rapid sequencing of the cause of the disease and share intelligence with hospitals, regional NHS centres and the Government. Find out more.

 

University of California, Davis

Access information and resources from UC Davis' COVID-19 Research Working Group.  

 

University of Connecticut

Laser-machine face shields to meet demand at UConn Health for personal protective equipment (PPE) in the struggle against COVID-19.

Joe Luciani, director of UConn’s Proof of Concept Center, is laser-machining face shields to meet demand at UConn Health for personal protective equipment (PPE) in the struggle against COVID-19. Luciani’s center is located at the Innovation Partnership Building at UConn Storrs. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, this state-of-the-art prototyping facility helped Connecticut companies develop new products. Now Luciani is working on producing as many shields as possible for health care workers on the front lines of the pandemic. He is working with industry partners and other UConn departments to send hundreds of face shields each week to UConn Health. Watch the video here.   

Read how UConn are adapting facilities and specialities to help with the fight against COVID-19 - Research and Grants In A Time Of A Pandemic

 

University College Dublin

View the UCD response to COVID-19.

UCD volunteers use 3D printing to produce PPE for front-line COVID-19 medical staff

A group of UCD researchers and engineers have produced 600 face shields to be used by front-line medical staff working on Covid-19 using the University's advanced manufacturing research facility.

Using their expertise in 3D printing, a group of engineering volunteers have been working with colleagues in I-Form, the SFI Research Centre for Advanced Manufacturing based at UCD, to provide the much Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). Find out more.

COVID-19 school closures risk worsening existing educational inequalities

The coronavirus has shifted school learning from the classroom to the home, a development that risks compounding existing educational inequalities according to a UCD expert. As a result of COVID-19 and school closures the burden of educating more than one million children across Ireland has fallen largely on parents and guardians. Find out more.  

 

University of Edinburgh

Access the University of Edinburgh's COVID-19 Response site to see how their community, researchers and experts are responding to the Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.  

 

University of Glasgow

University Of Glasgow Leads Covid-19 Research Response In Scotland

The University of Glasgow is at the heart of COVID-19 research response in Scotland and the UK.

Covid-19 is a new disease in humans, caused by a member of the coronavirus family of viruses. Thought to have originated in bats, it was first recorded in humans in China in late 2019, and can cause a fever, cough and breathing problems. Experts currently think around 80% of cases are mild, however a small portion of infected people go on to have complications such as pneumonia, and require a period of hospitalisation. Find out more.

Find out more about the range of Coronavirus research projects taking place at University of Glasgow.  

 

University of Hong Kong

Access HKU's Fight COVID-19 portal to see their latest research efforts in tackling the pandemic.  

 

University of Johannesburg

COVID-19 social distancing projections by UJ mathematicians

Considerable uncertainty surrounds COVID-19 - how long it will take before a vaccine is developed, the mortality rate and even how many cases there have been so far. But there is one thing of which we can be sure: social distancing works, according to mathematical modelling experts from UJ.

The team led by UJ's Prof Farai Nyabadza, an advanced researcher in mathematical epidemiology, Dr Faraimunashe Chirove, Dr Maria Visaya and Mr Williams Chukwu, have crunched the numbers and quantified the level of social distancing that can reduce pass-on rates of COVID-19 substantially. Their mathematical modelling, based on measures now in place to reduce person-to-person contact, reveals a scenario based on the impact of relaxing social distancing in which case numbers could rise to above 4000 cases by the end of the lockdown:

  • Relaxing social distancing by 2% can result in a 23% rise in the number of cumulative cases
  • Increasing the levels of social distancing by 2% would reduce the number of cumulative cases by about 18%

Prof Nyabadza's work is based on the reasoning that the current levels of social distancing are predicted to be inadequate especially during this infant stage of infection with exponential growth. There is a need for more aggressive and robust multi-control approaches that target reduction of the infection rate, increasing of social distancing levels, rapid detection of exposed cases and increasing the recovery of active cases need to be implemented simultaneously and optimised, says Prof Nyabadza. Find out more.

UJ creates open-source, cheap ventilators as COVID-19 cases rise

A multidisciplinary team of engineers and healthcare practitioners at the University of Johannesburg (UJ), has taken a three-pronged approach towards support for critical care technology development in response to the COVID-19 crisis which is expected to peak between July and September this year in South Africa.

Responding to initial reports that between 40-70% of South Africans could get infected with Covid-19, depending on the national response to the crisis, the Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment (FEBE) is coordinating efforts to further develop open-source ventilators, support repair and maintenance efforts to bring out of warranty equipment into service, and to make rapid prototyping facilities available to enable PPE manufacturing.

The latest reports indicate that South Africa has less than half the number of ventilators needed to deal with peak infections. It was reported by News 24 that the public healthcare system has 1 111 operational ventilators, with 2 105 operational in the private healthcare system. It is clear from the expected number of infections, that this will not suffice. Find out more.

 

University of Maryland

Watch Pandemic Spread on New UMD Maps: Geography Researchers Show Disease Progression Over Space, Time

While raw numbers of COVID-19 cases provide a sobering metric, new maps from University of Maryland geographers provide what may be the most detailed view yet available of the virus creeping nationwide, and then exploding into a pandemic.

Researchers in the Center for Geospatial Information Sciences (CGIS) present case data at the county level, tracking it day by day since late January, when the first positive case of the novel coronavirus was diagnosed in Washington State. One animated map shows how, throughout February, small clusters of cases begin to appear, mainly on the West Coast.Like a spreading rash, circles denoting cases begin to proliferate around the country by early March as testing expanded. The symbols multiply alarmingly—and grow rapidly in size to indicate more cases—approaching the current day. Find out more.  

 

University of Melbourne

Centre for Health Equity - COVID-19 Research News

The Centre for Health Equity provides international leadership in working across intersecting factors that shape health including gender, Indigeneity, disability, trauma exposure, migration and refugee status, age, sexuality, and socio-economic status. Our world-class researchers develop practical and nuanced solutions to complex structural injustices that create vulnerabilities for at risk populations. Find out more about their COVID-19 efforts here

Read about cutting-edge research, expert commentary and stories on COVID-19 via University of Melbourne's Pursuit.

 

University of New South Wales

Thirteen UNSW rapid research projects to tackle COVID-19

Thirteen research projects will receive support under UNSW’s recently established Rapid Response Research Fund to help tackle the impact of COVID-19.

The Rapid Response Research Fund was established as a pivotal part of UNSW’s contribution to addressing the current global pandemic and biosecurity emergency. It draws on a wealth of expertise across UNSW to confront the biomedical, societal and economic consequences of COVID-19. Find out more.

 

University of Nottingham

Research efforts around C-19

UoN are undertaking vital research into COVID-19 and offering expert advice to government and local healthcare partners.

In this unprecedented time, this challenge is bringing their researchers together from across disciplines, such as the immunologists, virologists and health professionals who are developing novel testing systems for COVID-19 antibody detection, which will help them better understand the pandemic and also help people back to work. Find out more about their COVID-19 research efforts here.  

 

University of Queensland

COVID-19: could saliva tests replace nasal swabs?Saliva could be humanity’s best friend in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic, University of Queensland researchers have found. Dr Pingping Han, a postdoctoral research fellow in UQ’s School of Dentistry, said saliva can be used to diagnose the presence and transmission of COVID-19, and to monitor immunity to the virus. Find out more.  

 

University of Zurich

UZH Researchers in the Fight Against Coronavirus

The UZH Foundation has launched a fundraising campaign for urgent research projects tackling the Covid-19 pandemic. The focus is on research into antibodies to determine immunity and improvements in treatment.

With its strong track record in life sciences research, the University of Zurich has an important contribution to make in tackling the current Covid-19 pandemic. The current situation means there is a pressing need for studies that will improve our understanding of the virus and the disease progression, and indicate possible ways out of the lockdown. Research resources are unfortunately limited.

The UZH Foundation, in cooperation with Vice President Medicine Beatrice Beck Schimmer and Vice President Research Michael Schaepman, has therefore launched a fundraising campaign for its new Pandemic Fund in order to raise additional funding for three urgent research projects. The aim is to generate 500,000 Swiss francs as soon as possible in the first instance to support selected projects. The selection criteria for the research projects receiving support is that they should contribute to providing a scientific basis for approaches to tackling the crisis, and as quickly as possible. Find out more.

New COVID-19 test center opened on the premises of the UZH Center for Travel Medicine

On 30 March a new COVID-19 test center was opened on the premises of the UZH Center for Travel Medicine. In this interview with UZH News, Professor Jan Fehr, the director of the center, explains why a new test facility is important and who it is primarily geared to. Find out more.