JDRF and Diabetes UK will co-fund Professor Kathleen Gillespie, at the University of Bristol, to find out why the risk of death from Covid-19 is higher in those who are type 1 diabetic. Scientists don’t know how many people with type 1 have had coronavirus and recovered, obscuring the full impact that the virus is having on the UK’s 400,000 people with type 1.
Professor Gillespie’s team will work with a research group in Milan that has developed a test that can detect coronavirus antibodies in a small sample of blood – small enough to be collected via post. By offering this test to around 5,000 people participating in ongoing studies of type 1 diabetes (the Bart’s Oxford study and UK TrialNet), Professor Gillespie will be able to estimate how many people contracted coronavirus. She will also ask participants to share their experiences of COVID-19 and lockdown – including whether they have been shielding, if they have had any COVID-19 symptoms, and how their blood glucose levels have reacted. With this information, Professor Gillespie will be able to see how the type 1 diabetes community has been hit by COVID-19. This will give scientists and clinicians a clearer idea of the risk that coronavirus poses to people with type 1, enabling healthcare teams to better support and protect people with the condition.
The leading experts from the University of Bristol’s School of Cellular and Molecular Medicine are at the heart of much of the UNCOVER research activity. In this series of short films, a few of the UNCOVER scientists discuss how they are address the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
COVID-19 research: Improving drug delivery (Dr Allison Blair)
Dr Allison Blair, Associate Professor in Experimental Haematology in the University of Bristol’s School of Cellular and Molecular Medicine discusses her team’s work to adapt cancer drug delivery systems to help fight COVID-19.
Prof Ruth Massey, Professor of Microbial Pathogenicity in the University of Bristol’s School of Cellular and Molecular Medicine, discusses her team’s work to improve tests for dangerous secondary infections in COVID-19 patients.
COVID-19 research: Understanding the immune response (Prof Fernando Ponce)
Prof Fernando Ponce, PhD candidate in the University of Bristol’s School of Cellular and Molecular Medicine, discusses his work to understand the role of neutrophils (a key form of white blood cell and the first line of defence against infection) in the body’s immune response to SARS-CoV2.
Dr Ellen Brooks Pollock, Senior Lecturer in Infectious Disease Mathematical Modelling, talks to Professor John Iredale, Pro Vice-Chancellor for Health and Life Sciences, about infectious disease modelling and how this work is underpinning the COVID-19 public health response of governments around the world.
A new COVID-19 Protein Portal providing UK scientists with free access to protein reagents for critical SARS-CoV-2 research launched on 12th May. The Portal, in response to a Wellcome and UKRI Open Science initiative, is led by a consortium of leading protein production laboratories including the MultiBac expression facility in the University of Bristol’s School of Biochemistry.
Healthy frontline NHS staff in Bristol will be studied as part of a ground-breaking research project led by infectious disease and immunology specialists from Bristol Royal Hospital for Children and the University of Bristol. Researchers will track their symptoms (or lack of), the presence (or absence) of the virus in their mouths and noses and the development (or not) of the protective antibodies in their blood over a three-month period.
In December 2019, there was just one lab in the country researching coronavirus, which was here in Bristol. Researchers from Bristol’s School of Cellular and Molecular Medicine (CMM) have been growing the live human SARS-CoV-2 virus in a controlled lab to investigate what the virus is doing inside monkey and human cells. Doctors David Matthews and Andrew Davidson from the CMM have already published the first UK paper describing the important genetic changes that occur when SARS-COV-2 spreads in the body.