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Universities at the forefront of the coronavirus response

Find out what universities are doing to improve public understanding of how coronavirus behaves and how this work is vital in dealing with the outbreak.

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With the outbreak of COVID-19 affecting people’s lives globally, there is an urgent need for a vaccine and a better understanding of the disease. Significant efforts are being made all over the world by scientists, pharmaceutical companies, research centres, governments and universities.


So, what exactly is being done to tackle the coronavirus and how are universities specifically at the forefront of this work? We went to find out more.


Universities involved in Covid-19 research

There are more than 100 vaccines being developed around the world in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The pressure is on for mass producing a viable vaccine so that treatment is widely accessible for people all across the world. Below is a list of universities based in different parts of the world with different COVID-19 projects and studies underway.


Oxford University

The Jenner Institute at Oxford University has been leading the race with its human testing of a COVID-19 vaccine. This world-leading institution made global headlines with its estimation that the vaccine could be distributed as soon as September 2020, if their trials yield positive results.


Imperial College

Another UK-based institution leading the way with its work on the vaccine is being carried out at  Imperial College, London. The development of this vaccine has been made possible for both Imperial and Oxford University with the UK government’s financial support of GBP 44.5 million. Imperial College has also been closely involved with advising government and developing statistical modeling to track and manage the outbreak.


University of Texas

Professor Jason McLellan at the University of Texas in Austin led a team of researchers who created the first 3D atomic scale of the part of COVID-19 which attaches itself to human cells. This work has been pivotal in enabling other research teams to closely study the virus in an effort to create a vaccine.


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The University of Glasgow and The University of Edinburgh

These universities are working together with the help of government funding (GBP 4.9 million) on a project to understand how the virus affects the human body. Their work hopes to shed light on how to control the outbreak and improve treatments.


The University of Manchester

Using mathematics, this UK university has been harnessing its expertise in statistical modelling to provide information to the government about ways to protect the British population during the pandemic. The university also has world-leading virology and inflammation/immunology teams who are studying patients in real-time to explore the effect of the virus on the lungs specifically.


The University of Sydney

Researchers at the University of Sydney are leading several government-backed projects to tackle issues presented by COVID-19. With funding, the team of researchers have been able to use artificial intelligence to accurately monitor the coronavirus in patients experiencing breathing difficulties. Two professors working at the University of Sydney and National Centre for Immunization Research and Surveillance (NCIRS) will focus on better understanding population immunity to support public health.


Victoria University of Wellington

Funded by the Health Research Council, this university in New Zealand will use data science to help increase understanding of how viruses can be transmitted from person to person. This research is in collaboration with University of Auckland, Massey University, University of Otago and ESR (Crown Research Institute). Another project in New Zealand will also look specifically at the socioeconomic impact of the virus, such as how people are dealing with lockdown and quarantine. This work is being led by Massey University and the University of Otago.


While there are clear global challenges, there are more individual hurdles that you might be struggling with at the moment. Use our guide to overcome some of the most common ones.


As you can see there is widespread determination to improve our understanding of this novel virus. This is of course not an exhaustive list of institutions involved in such work, but it highlights the impressive research, expertise and collaborative projects that universities are undertaking in response to coronavirus. It also illustrates continuing importance of higher education and universities in tackling some of the world’s most complex and difficult issues.

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