National charity Heart Research UK is to fund three new research projects to investigate how COVID-19 affects the heart and circulatory system – an investment of over half a million pounds.
Research has shown that people with cardiovascular conditions, including high blood pressure, have a higher risk of developing severe COVID-19.
COVID-19 can also cause ‘new’ damage to the heart and blood vessels in people who have no pre-existing disease.
Heart Research UK’s new grant scheme was designed to fund pioneering research to investigate these links and improve outcomes for patients suffering from COVID-19 who may have underlying cardiovascular problems.
The grants have been awarded to Newcastle University, the University of Dundee and University of Glasgow.
The University of Dundee project, led by Professor Faisel Khan, Professor of Cardiovascular Sciences, will study whether inflammation in the body caused by COVID-19 contributes to long-term damage to the blood vessels. For more on this grant, click here.
The project at the Newcastle University, which will be led by Professor Ioakim Spyridopoulos, Professor of Cardiovascular Gerontology, will investigate long-term inflammation of the heart in COVID-19 patients. It is hoped that the findings will guide immune-therapies to prevent heart inflammation and therefore reduce the risk of cardiovascular complications in patients recovering from COVID-19. For more on this grant, click here.
The project at the University of Glasgow, led by Professor Sandosh Padmanabhan, Professor of Cardiovascular Genomics and Therapeutics, is aiming to answer whether:
- High blood pressure makes COVID-19 infection worse and if so, why.
- COVID-19 infection makes high blood pressure worse and if so, why.
- Monitoring and management of high blood pressure needs to be a greater priority during the pandemic.
For more on this grant, click here.
Kate Bratt-Farrar, Chief Executive of Heart Research UK, said: “We have known for some time that people with pre-existing heart problems are more susceptible to suffering severe consequences from COVID-19, as well as the virus being able to damage the heart itself.
“However, there is a gap in the research here, and Heart Research UK is very proud to be funding three cutting edge projects that are aiming to help us better understand the most pressing medical challenge in a generation.
“The research we fund has one aim – to benefit patients as soon as possible. We are hopeful that these projects will help to bring about tangible improvements in the way we care for those with COVID-19 and cardiovascular issues.”