COVID-19 efforts in Africa

A doctor sanitising a child's hand

Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, UKRI has supported many different threads of coronavirus-related research across Africa, including through the Medical Research Council (MRC) and Newton Fund.

Research in the Gambia

One project from researchers at the MRC Unit: The Gambia at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, is a surveillance project for people seeking care due to acute respiratory illness in West Africa.

It is one of two research units established in sub-Saharan Africa by the MRC and represents a unique concentration of scientific expertise and high-quality research in the region.

The team is also redirecting the focus of an existing project with a cohort of pregnant women to investigate the effects of COVID-19 in pregnant women and new-born babies.

Read more about the MRC Unit The Gambia at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

Genomic sequencing in Uganda

Another project underway in Africa is the genomic sequencing of SARS-CoV-2 by MRC, the Uganda Virus Research Institute (UVRI) and London School of Hygienic and Tropic Medicine (LSHTM).

Researchers at the Uganda Research Unit have joined together to work on the analysis of the sequence and the phylogenetic placement within the global epidemic.

The work in Uganda is contributing to the global understanding of COVID-19’s genomic structure.

Researchers are also investigating the projects looking to map the psychosocial impact of COVID-19 in Uganda, to determine the coping mechanism of individuals suspected of having or diagnosed with COVID-19.

Further funding for Africa-based research

An Africa-specific research call was launched to support even more COVID-19 initiatives across the continent.

The COVID-19 Africa Rapid Grant Fund, led by the National Research Foundation South Africa, is supported by an international collaboration of funders including UKRI. It will fund researchers across Africa to look at prevention, diagnostics and treatments of COVID-19.

The £3.8 million fund includes an innovative component to bolster science and health in efforts to produce and disseminate accurate and timely information about COVID-19 for the public.

Read more about the Africa Rapid Grant Fund.

Last updated: 3 August 2021

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