“Professor Kamlesh Khunti and Dr Manish Pareek have played a pivotal role in bringing to light the severe impact COVID-19 has on BAME communities in particular, driving forward debate and demanding greater scrutiny into this important issue. This includes their critical research into understanding why BAME healthcare workers could be at greater risk of developing COVID-19 and what steps are needed to mitigate its impact on the frontline staff serving our communities,” he says.
Chief Medical Officer for England and Head of the NIHR Professor Chris Whitty adds: "With evidence showing that people from Black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds are more severely affected by COVID-19, it is critical that we understand what factors are driving this risk to address them effectively.
“The diverse range of projects funded by the NIHR and UKRI will help examine this association in detail, so that new treatments and approaches to care can be developed to target the ethnicities most at risk. This research will have embedded patient and public involvement with Black, Asian and minority ethnic groups at all stages of the research."
Building upon the University’s expertise for developing and delivering online rehabilitation programmes, NHS England announced in July that it is working with Professor Sally Singh, Head of Pulmonary and Cardiac Rehabilitation, on the Your COVID Recovery website - a new project to help rehabilitate thousands of patients across the UK who are recovering from COVID-19.
Your COVID Recovery supports patients with ongoing symptoms from coronavirus in their recovery and it is one of the first such services in the world.
The University is also conducting research on the virus itself, determining if it can be stopped by using novel methods such as decoy proteins, uncovering the fact that it can trigger other health conditions, such as Myalgic Encephalomyelitis, and understanding the virus’ impact on children.
Professor Nick Brindle’s understanding of how proteins interact with each other at the molecular level has helped facilitate the development of new medications, and his team is currently developing new ways to block the coronavirus by using directed evolution and protein engineering techniques. It is hoped that their work will help us to understand how proteins on the COVID-19 virus interact with cells and cause infection or disease.
Professor Elizabeth Draper is undertaking a number of projects that are monitoring and providing insight into the effect COVID-19 has on pregnancy outcomes and the impact on neonatal and paediatric intensive care. She currently leads the national perinatal surveillance and enquiries for MBRRACE-UK (Mothers and Babies: Reducing Risk through Audits and Confidential Enquiries across the UK), which is monitoring COVID-19 perinatal outcomes in the UK.
“Our experts have responded to the pandemic by applying their world-changing, curiosity-driven research to the fight. This research has and will continue to save lives, drive innovation and ensure that we are better prepared to respond to the next global health crisis,” Professor Canagarajah adds.