UK-India research partnership worth £5m to study Covid-19 severity in South Asians
Relatives wearing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) arrive for the funeral of their relative who died due to Covid 19 coronavirus, at a crematorium in New Delhi on May 11, 2021 (Photo: PRAKASH SINGH/AFP via Getty Images).
THE UK and India will support four collaborative bilateral research projects worth £5 million to better understand Covid-19 severity in South Asian populations in both the countries.
These projects will be funded by UK Research and Innovation, India’s department of biotechnology and ministry of science and technology through the UK-India Covid-19 partnership initiative.
They try to understand the pandemic through the study of related ethnic groups in different environments in both countries. These projects have the potential to deliver public health impacts in mitigating the severity of the Covid-19 in UK and India, an official statement said.
“This partnership builds on the joint strengths of the Indian and UK research communities and I am very pleased that these high-quality projects have high potential for direct impact in the form of improved understanding of a rapidly evolving pandemic. These projects are likely to offer evidence-based solutions towards mitigating the severity of the outbreak in both the UK and India,” said Dr. Renu Swarup, secretary of India’s department of biotechnology (DBT).
“This partnership also exemplifies the spirit of global partnerships in addressing global issues.”
UKRI international champion, Professor Christopher Smith said: “The Covid-19 pandemic demonstrates the vital role of international science and innovation partnerships in collecting information, sharing knowledge and experiences and developing rapid solutions to tackle worldwide problems.
“These four new joint collaborative research projects build on the strong research and innovation links between the UK and India, bringing together world-leading research teams who are focused on mitigating the severity of Covid-19 in South Asian populations in the UK and India.”
Variation in innate immune activation and cardiovascular disease risk as drivers of Covid-19 outcome in South Asians in UK and India, Dr Annapurna Vyakarnam, Indian Institute of Science and Dr Adrian Hayday, King’s College London and Francis Crick Institute, London.
It intends to prove why Covid-19 affects South Asians in different countries in different ways to support the rapid identification of information that may allow development of new prevention steps, more targeted monitoring, and potentially new treatments to improve the outcome of Covid-19 in both India and the UK.
CoV-Ind-UK: Prospective investigation of the determinants for Covid-19 outcomes amongst South Asians in India and the UK, Dr Anurag Agrawal Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology and Dr John Chambers, Imperial College London
The study aims to understand the reasons underlying the increased risk of Covid-19 amongst South Asians, and generate knowledge that informs interventions to reduce the burden of Covid-19 amongst South Asians who represent 25 per cent of the world’s population.
Explaining the differential severity of Covid-19 between Indians in India and the UK, Dr Giridhara Rathnaiah Babu, Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI) and Dr Sanjay Kinra, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
It aims to generate the first ever like-for-like comparisons between Indian populations in the UK and India to rapidly assess whether risk of severe Covid-19 truly differs between Indian populations in the two countries and to test a range of hypothesized explanations.
Role of the oral microbiome & mucosal immunity in Covid-19 disease: diagnostic/prognostic utility in South Asian populations, Dr Priya Kannian, The Voluntary Health Services Hospital and Dr Stephen Challacombe, King’s College London
The proposal is based on the hypothesis that mucosal immunity and the microbiome, as reflected in the oral cavity/oropharynx, plays a critical role in susceptibility to, and severity of Covid-19 and explains differences in mortality between similar populations in the UK and India.