St George’s launches Coronavirus Action Fund to raise money for vital research
Published: 04 May 2020
Today, St George’s, University of London has launched a Coronavirus Action Fund to support research in response to the coronavirus pandemic and continue work to improve health.
As the UK’s specialist health university, St George’s is in a unique position to carry out essential research into the virus. Short-term goals are to understand the immunology, virology and genetics of Covid-19 to inform advances in new diagnostics, new treatments and a vaccine. Experts are also influencing public health policy and providing evidence-based information and advice to front-line healthcare practitioners.
The University is seeking philanthropic gifts to support research that will ultimately save lives, not just in the UK, but on a global scale. The gifts will enable St George’s experts to support national and international efforts to tackle coronavirus and support the nation’s recovery when emerging from the pandemic.
Speaking about the launch of the Fund, Professor Jenny Higham, Principal of St George’s, University of London, said: “This week, we mark the 40th anniversary of the eradication of smallpox worldwide – a feat which would not have been possible without the work done by alumnus Edward Jenner to develop the first ever vaccine.
“The current pandemic represents a new challenge, the likes of which we haven’t seen for decades. With donations to the Coronavirus Action Fund, St George’s can continue to play a role on a global scale.
"Our scientists are working on the cutting edge of biology and leading on trials that will set the standards for how we diagnose, prevent and treat this disease. Each and every pound will be spent where it is needed most to progress our work towards improving society through healthcare research and education.”
Commenting on the work the University is doing to contribute to efforts to tackle Covid-19, Professor Jon Friedland, Deputy Principal (Research and Enterprise) at St George's, University of London, said:
"The University is mobilising clinical, diagnostic and underlying scientific research so that we can help the effort against Covid-19.
“Our aim is to improve treatments and outcomes for patients, with our experts working to develop better and faster diagnostic tests and to evaluate drugs to treat the disease as part of broader national trials. St George’s researchers are also working to understand the virus and how the human immune system responds to it, to guide future development of immuno-therapies and vaccines.”
Research into coronavirus is already underway at the University, with more than thirty principal investigators leading on or kickstarting projects related to the disease. St George’s scientists are working on clinical trials to find the most effective treatments and vaccines, develop new diagnostic tests, and understand whether pregnant mothers pass the virus onto their children. Meanwhile, further research includes helping to understand the biology of the virus, risk factors for infection and how marginalised groups such as migrants may be affected.
While several of these projects and trials have already received funding from statutory and charitable sources, further support is needed to accelerate and broaden the research and make the desired impact on the pandemic.
With £1,000 the University could expand the resources for learners globally on its online courses educating health professionals in managing Covid-19. £60,000 could fund a postdoctoral researcher in immunology, virology or bioinformatics for a year to advance a coronavirus research project.
As well as driving research developments, St George’s is proud to support the NHS workers leading the fight against coronavirus. Students and staff have been stepping up and volunteering across the NHS and beyond to keep the country moving. The combined efforts of staff, students and research are all playing a role in helping to bring an end to the pandemic.
If you would like to contribute towards supporting the University in all its efforts, please donate now to the Coronavirus Action fund online.