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Research to help fight COVID-19


Research to help fight COVID-19

At Newcastle University, we are combining our diverse research excellence to tackle COVID-19 and respond to this major global challenge.

What we're doing

We are connecting creative discovery with impact for economic and societal benefit, working with partners to help develop new therapies for the virus. We are helping to scale up and speed up diagnostic tests.

We are donating state-of-the-art equipment and helping to manufacture new equipment. We are working across disciplinary boundaries to understand the impact of the necessary restrictions imposed on our personal and working lives.

Working with our partners, we have developed the NU COVID-19 Project. This will co-ordinate and maximise the contribution we can make as a University to the wider community in response to the COVID-19 crisis.

More COVID-19 research

Our contribution

  1. We're contributing to discovery of new drugs to combat COVID-19. The Newcastle University Drug Discovery Group is internationally recognised for success in discovering anti-cancer drugs. They are using fragment-based drug design to contribute compounds that inhibit the COVID-19 main protease, an initiative instigated and led by Diamond Light Source. Targeting this protein has potential to lead to drugs that inhibit replication of the virus.
  2. We are developing rapid diagnostics and delivering clinical trials of experimental therapy in partnership with the Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and industrial partners, locally and internationally. We are conducting basic, clinical and translational research to understand responses people make when infected with COVID-19. This is so we can target these with new treatments.
  3. We're predicting susceptibility to coronavirus. A team is working to develop a support tool to assist senior doctors in hospital to understand specific risks faced by each patient admitted with COVID-19. This so the sickest patients can be prioritised and assessed rapidly. It will help doctors make decisions on their optimal care promptly and efficiently.
  4. The NIHR Newcastle Biomedical Research Centre is using insight in the scientific understanding of ageing and long-term conditions to asses and plan for the impact of COVD-19 on those considered to be worse affected by the virus; older people, and those with pre-existing conditions. Experts are examining the long-term impact this will have on this particular population across the North East, and beyond, in terms of health and social care. 
  5. The NIHR Innovation Observatory (NIHRIO) is located at the Catalyst in the Helix site. It's a national horizon scanning centre funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR). Since lockdown in mid-March 2020, we've worked with colleagues at NHS England, NICE and MHRA. We provide intelligence to support national decision making. Using data gathered, we've developed and published a trial tracker for therapeutic and diagnostic pipelines for Covid-19. It is available on our website in a power BI dashboard. The tracker updates daily. It gives a full picture of the development pipeline for Covid-19 medicines and tests. The data underpinning the tracker supports prioritisation of medicines and diagnostics nationally.
  6. We are guiding development of the NHSX Covid app. As part of the Independent Ethics Advisory Committee, Professor Lilian Edwards is advising the Government on the ethics and legalities of using technology to control the pandemic.
  7. Alongside participants from the NEESAMA (North East England South Asia Mental health Alliance) partnership, we invite respondents from across the globe to help Newcastle University researchers understand the impact of COVID-19 on the mental health of the general population and what coping strategies are being used around the world. This ground-breaking research will give mental health professionals a unique insight into the psychological sequalae of COVID 19. These data will inform the development of timely and targeted psychosocial interventions. Find out more.
  8. Atelerix, a Newcastle University spin-out based in The Biosphere on Newcastle Helix, has secured almost £50k each from government organisation Innovate UK to accelerate the development of their technologies to support the fight against the coronavirus.