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KCL funds study of COVID-19 patients at St Thomas'

Jessie Mathewson, Local Democracy Reporter

King's College London has fast-tracked £500,000 for emergency research to help tackle the coronavirus outbreak.

KCL funds study of COVID-19 patients at St Thomas'

King's College London is funding 30 projects studying the treatment and prevention of COVID-19 as well as the wider effects on society and the economy.

And the college wants members of the public to donate so they can work faster.

Health scientists at King's – together with colleagues at Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust and South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust – will work on immediate solutions to the outbreak.

These include a study of coronavirus patients at St Thomas' Hospital to understand why some people need intensive care while others can fight off the virus.

Though age and existing health conditions play a part, much remains unclear about why some patients suffer worse than others.

Scientists will also trial PrEP drugs medication taken by HIV negative patients to stop them getting the condition to see if they could be used to stop the spread of coronavirus.

Initial lab tests suggest PrEP could also suppress COVID-19 and this would be particularly useful to stop hospital staff passing on the virus, researchers believe.

Academics will also study how older people are coping with loneliness during self-isolation, and how online learning is impacting university students and staff.

And researchers will put on a programme of remote cultural events for vulnerable people, to ensure the feelings of empathy and community fostered through the arts continue during the pandemic.

King's vice president Professor Reza Razavi said it was "only right" that the college funded research that would save lives.

He said: "King's is at the forefront of innovation and research so I am confident that this new research will offer vital contributions to the understanding and treatment of COVID-19."

You can donate to the King's research here: www.covid19-appeal.kcl.ac.uk

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