As an organisation with expertise in advancing medical research into new therapies and interventions, our skills and resources have been applied to address the coronavirus pandemic.
We have taken steps to ensure we can contribute. We have mobilised our capital, our materials and our people to help address the challenge and will continue to do so while the virus remains a threat to humanity and the global economy. Read on to find out how we are applying our resources.
£10m made available to fund trials of new treatments
In recognition of the clear, urgent need for treatments that can reduce the mortality and morbidity rate of COVID-19, LifeArc set aside £10 million to finance research into existing or late stage development therapies that could have the potential to be repurposed for use in COVID-19 patients. This is intended to rapidly help address the current absence of any clinically proven therapies.
We received an incredible response to the call, which closed on 6 April. An independent, expert Scientific Review Panel selected 15 projects for funding, based on their ability to rapidly start trials and their potential to deliver an improvement to COVID-19 patients. Find out more about these projects.
£2m provided to STOPCOVID
We have provided £2m of funding support to the University of Edinburgh’s STOPCOVID project. The project will enable 150 scientists at the University of Edinburgh’s Centre for Inflammation Research to be deployed to work on a project that aims to test existing and experimental drugs to find a treatment for COVID-19.
Drugs to be tested on lungs of ICU coronavirus patients through the ‘STOPCOVID’ initiative at Edinburgh Universityhttps://t.co/XaGPgLmE1m
— BBC News (UK) (@BBCNews) April 16, 2020
STOPCOVID will focus on the inflammatory pathways that lead directly to lung injury, which is associated with the most severe aspects of COVID-19. Excessive inflammation can cause the lungs to fail, leading to death. Researchers will test drugs to see if they can block this and other damaging types of inflammation in the early stages of the disease to change the course of infection and prevent the need of a ventilator.
PPE and equipment donations
While our laboratories are out of operation, we have provided our spare and unused equipment to those who are actively addressing the coronavirus challenge. We have sent PPE (personal protective equipment) to Addenbrookes Hospital in Cambridge and spare boxes of plasticware – necessary for coronavirus testing – to the MRC Institute of Genetics and Molecular Medicine, University of Edinburgh, to support diagnostic testing of NHS staff.
At the request of the Government, we willingly provided large lab equipment to help with operations through the diagnostic testing centres that it has established throughout the country.
We are in ongoing dialogue with membership groups such as the BioIndustry Association and British InVitro Diagnostics Association as well as the Government, to identify how we can support for the activities to counteract the pandemic.