COVID-19 Response Fund
Thank you for your support
In March we launched the Imperial College COVID-19 Response Fund to provide a means for donors to contribute to a pooled fund that will give the College the flexibility to quickly support high-impact projects in the university’s efforts to tackle COVID-19 and support the welfare of staff and students serving in the frontlines of Trust hospitals.
Since its launch, more than 550 alumni and friends have backed the fund, donating more than £370,000, with a further £1 million from the donor-backed President's Excellence Fund and a landmark £200,000 donation from the Hinduja Foundation and Ashok Leyland.
The College has now announced the first research projects to be awarded funding from the COVID-19 Response Fund. These projects are the result of an unprecedented College-wide effort to respond to the crisis, with staff and students channelling their expertise to develop vaccines, improve diagnostics, advance therapies, strengthen epidemiology and provide essential healthcare.
Projects to be funded include:
- Understanding the COVID-19 prognosis
Professor Shiranee Sriskandan is leading a team to better understand the pathogenesis and prognosis of patients admitted to hospital with COVID-19. Over the last five years the project has biobanked 2700 samples obtained at the point of admission from adult patients admitted with acute infections. The Imperial BioAID team has continued to recruit samples throughout the COVID-19 crisis and is now in a position to investigate samples collected in the first stage of the epidemic in London. intend to use this sample set to better understand what immunological features of COVID-19 hospital patients distinguish them from others with acute infection, and how this might affect how we diagnose and treat them.
- Low cost emergency ventilator
One of the first recipients of funding was a team of bioengineers and medics who have designed a low cost, high performance emergency ventilator to help patients with coronavirus. The device could help offer a solution to ventilator shortages worldwide, particularly for health services in developing countries. The team have made the design freely available for manufacturers and health services around the world to download to help them in the fight against coronavirus.
- Effectiveness of face masks
Since the global outbreak of the pandemic, members of the public wearing surgical masks to try and protect themselves from COVID-19 has become an increasingly common sight. This project will investigate their effectiveness by modelling the airflow of a person’s breathing and the mechanics of the material that the mask is made of. The findings will enable them to make recommendations on how face mask design can be improved with the aim to reduce COVID-19 infection rates in NHS and key workers and the public.
- A smartphone test for COVID-19
A team have developed a cutting-edge ‘lab on a chip’ diagnostic platform using microchip technology that can be paired with a smartphone application to rapidly identify whether a person is positive for SARS-CoV-2 RNA from a nasal or throat swab. The low-cost test would provide a portable alternative to conventional lab-based testing, allowing clinicians and nurses to diagnose patients at the bedside and in the community in real time.
- Using 3D printing to protect frontline health workers
A team of Imperial researchers are aiming to help protect frontline healthcare workers by designing 3D printable components for face masks. If the designs are successful, the team will make their findings immediately and freely available for the international community to replicate the printing process.
Please join us in this global fight and consider a gift today. Your support will help Imperial move and respond quickly, and make a lasting impact.