EGA IfWH Staff have focused their attention to addressing the Covid-19 pandemic
Dr Jens Madsen and Professor Howard Clark (Department of Neonatology) are evaluating whether a recombinant fragment of human SP-D (rfhSP-D) with known antiviral properties may be a potential therapeutic for Covid-19 patients.
Surfactant Protein D (SP-D) is a natural component of first- line immune defence and has both anti-viral and anti-inflammatory properties. It inhibits viral infection by binding to the viral attachment proteins hemagglutinin and neuraminidase from Influenza, F and G protein from Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV), gp120 from HIV, and also the Spike(S)-protein from SARS-CoV-1. As SP-D has both anti-inflammatory and anti-viral activity, it could potentially also alleviate the inflammatory cytokine storm causing the severe acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) seen in Covid-19 patients.
Dr Jenny Hall - Clinical Academic in Public Health Medicine. Jenny is working as a Senior Epidemiologist in the Epidemiology Cell as part of Public Health's England Coronavirus response. She is responsible for managing the team who produce the data for the National Covid-19 Surveillance reports, as well as working on a number of other epidemiological investigations.
Dr John Timms (Dept. Womens Cancer) Alexey Zaikin (IfWH/Maths), Tatiana Nazarenko (IfWH), Harry Whitwell (ICL/ex-IWH) and Oleg Blyuss (Uni of Hertfordshire/hon IfWH member have been working with a team based at the Francis Crick Institute and the Charite University Hospital Berlin to analyse high-throughput mass spectrometry data from serum and plasma collected from COVID-19 patients.
Using this data, they have derived and tested biomarker models for predicting the severity of COVID-19 with high accuracy. Longitudinal data from an independent cohort of patients will be analysed soon, where they hope to validate the models to see if they can predict which patients will progress to more severe disease requiring intensive care. For such predictive tests to be effective, early and rapid testing will be necessary and we will be working with our collaborators to develop rapid assays based on our findings.
Dr Anne Lanceley (Patient Care Research Group, Dept. of Women’s Cancer) has been involved with telephone pre-face-to-face clinic screening calls for new gynae oncology patients attending UCLH. She is also undertaking shifts on the helpline for the Eve Appeal and Target Ovarian Cancer as the demand for their service has greatly increased. She has also become involved in a BGCS linked Covid 19 project with the gynae oncology charities.
Professor Judith Stephenson (Sexual & Reproductive Health,) along with Dr Jenny Hall, Dr Geraldine Barrett and Professor Anna David are Co-Investigators on The CAP-COVID study. This was designed by doctors and scientists at University College London and University College London Hospital to monitor pregnant women in the UK during the COVID 19 pandemic. The Study is interested in women who are currently pregnant and agree to be followed-up through a series of surveys to document the outcome of their pregnancy.
In collaboration with the NIHR Clinical Research Facility of Southampton and co-applicant Professor Paolo De Coppi and Dr Pascale V Guillot proposed a project to the MRC to understand why some people are more severely affected by COVID-19 than others by studying the impact of age and disease severity on the physiology and function of monocyte-derived macrophages (MDMs), and to develop a therapeutic product derived from rejuvenated cells to reprogram and counter the inflammatory storm responsible for the complication of COVID-19. If successful, this new intervention could be tested for safety and efficacy in clinical trials and contribute to decrease the COVID-19 mortality rate.
Katie Gallagher (Dept. of Maternal & Fetal Medicine), and colleagues have collated the experiences from neonatal nurses in over 9 different countries, exploring the impact of COVID-19 upon their practice. These stories are being published shortly in the Journal of Neonatal Nursing and are being released in stages on the Neonatal Nurses Association website and Twitter accounts.
Dr Bola Grace, Honorary Research Fellow in the Dept of Reproductive Health has been delivering webinars at The University of Cambridge on Immunoassays, Diagnostics and Medical Device development for rapid response to the COVID-19 crisis.