UKRI and NIHR fund new COVID projects in low and middle-income countries

The National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) and UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) have announced the joint-funding of eight new COVID-19 research projects in low and middle-income countries.

Over £4 million has been awarded to the projects, which receive support under the umbrella of the Global Effort on COVID-19 (GECO) Health Research joint funding initiative.

All eight projects attempt to tackle, assess and understand more about the pandemic in ‘lower resource settings’ with the goal of helping to shape and inform future responses to disease outbreaks.

According to the UKRI, these newly funded projects are also in line with the World Health Organization’s Coordinated Global Research Roadmap.

The eight funded projects include:

  • A contact tracing tracking haulage tool for COVID-19 surveillance in East Africa, featuring partners such as Uganda Ministry of Health, Makerere University in Uganda and the University of Edinburgh.
  • A real-time sequencing genomic surveillance system in the Philippines with the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine, The Philippines and the University of Glasgow.
  • Evaluating serological tools to control the spread of COVID-19 and monitor vaccination roll-out in Southeast Asia, with the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine, The Philippines, Ministry of Public Health, Thailand, and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.
  •  A cross-country comparison study on the effect of COVID-19 control measures on non-communicable disease factors in the Caribbean, by staff from the University of the West Indies’ campuses in Jamaica, Barbados and Trinidad & Tobago.
  • Multicentre cohort study of 20,000 COVID-19-infected patients in Brazil, focusing on the nature of transmission and infection. The team includes partners such as Imperial College London, Fiocruz (Oswaldo Cruz Foundation), and three Brazilian universities – the Federal University of Mato Grosso do Sul, Federal University of Ceara (UFC) and State University of Maringa.
  • Research into the pandemic’s impact on the medicine retail sector in East Africa, with Makere University, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and Denmark’s University of Copenhagen.
  • A study on the impact of COVID-19 on antimicrobial resistance in East Africa, including the University of St Andrews in Scotland, Tanzania’s Catholic University of Health and Allied Sciences (CUHAS) and Makere University.
  • Indigenous people’s response to COVID-19 in Brazil, with partners from Brazil’s University of Sao Paulo, Federal University of Sao Carlos, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro and Federal University of Southern Bahia (UFSB) and City, University of London.

These eight projects make the second round of GECO funding, after 12 other projects were awarded financial support during the first round in October 2020.

More information on the GECO projects can be found via UKRI.