NUI Galway researchers refocus research to fight COVID-19

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NUI Galway is reviewing its healthcare research and looking at ways it can help fight the spread of COVID-19.

Researchers at the university are examining an existing study of interventions for patients with community-acquired pneumonia.

This study is being quickly refocused to examine COVID-19 patients.

It is being revised so that it can enable healthcare professionals to offer novel emerging therapies to the sickest patients.

A new working group has been established to allow healthcare professionals to quickly profile the immune response of severely ill patients with a view to guiding therapeutic options.

The working group is made up of the University’s top academics in the fields of haematology, immunology and ID.

The University’s critical care researchers are working with the Irish critical care trials group and international pandemic research consortia to develop and quickly implement Clinical Trials in patients with COVID-19 Severe Respiratory Failure in order to test and gain access to novel therapies as they emerge.

President of NUI Galway, Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh said: “NUI Galway exists for the public good. The Irish people have answered the Government’s call to combat the spread of Covid 19, and the University is mobilising all its academic capabilities to join this global action.

“While we’re also repurposing our research to combat this crisis, I’d like to pay particular tribute to our medical community, staff and student doctors and nurses who are on the frontline saving lives in our hospitals, nationally and internationally.

“They making a great contribution throughout the world and our impact is at its most profound through them and their commitment to others.  We are deeply grateful to them.”

Professor John Laffey at NUI Galway added: “There are several emerging drug therapies for COVID-19, including antivirals, chloroquine and derivatives, steroids and immune modulating drugs.

“However, the research is very young and needs further examination to determine their effectiveness before we can see results.

“Our research focuses on what we already know about viruses and how we can quickly adapt it to make early and effective interventions to save the lives of thousands of people.”