Three new research projects will investigate the impact of COVID-19 on the heart and circulatory system.
National charity Heart Research UK has pledged over £500,000 to support the research, as part of a new grant scheme to examine the links between COVID-19 and cardiovascular conditions. The charity hopes this research will 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 the University of Glasgow.
COVID-19 and long-term damage
The University of Dundee project, led by 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.
The research at Newcastle University, led by 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 inform immune therapies to prevent heart inflammation and therefore reduce the risk of cardiovascular complications in patients recovering from COVID-19.
COVID-19’s impact on blood pressure
The University of Glasgow project, led by 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.
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.”