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Refocusing healthcare research Healthcare - the immediate battleground in this pandemic.

Healthcare is the immediate battleground in this pandemic.

Much of our healthcare research takes place in our facilities which are co-located on hospital grounds, and many of our experts work work on the frontline.

Healthcare students at NUI Galway are playing a vital role in the provision of healthcare- in their clinical placement and through volunteering, both in contact tracing and at various testing centres across the city.

At the earliest stages, we began a comprehensive review of its extensive healthcare research to repurpose it to help fight the spread of COVID-19.

NUI Galway exists for the public good. The Irish people have answered the Government’s call to combat the spread of Covid 19, and the University is mobilising all its academic capabilities to join this global action. While we’re also repurposing our research to combat this crisis, I’d like to pay particular tribute to our medical community, staff and student doctors and nurses who are on the frontline saving lives in our hospitals, nationally and internationally. They making a great contribution throughout the world and our impact is at its most profound through them and their commitment to others. We are deeply grateful to them. President of NUI Galway, Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh

New therapies for pneumonia patients being developed

A team of researchers at NUI Galway is examining an existing study of interventions for patients with community acquired pneumonia which is rapidly being repurposed to examine COVID-19 patients. This study is being revised and repurposed to enable healthcare professionals to offer novel emerging therapies to the sickest patients.

Critical care trials

The University’s critical care researchers are working with the Irish critical care trials group and international pandemic research consortia to develop and rapidly implement Clinical Trials in patients with COVID-19 Severe Respiratory Failure in order to test and gain access to novel therapies as they emerge.

Mapping PPE

A new website called ww.covidmedsupply.org has been created by NUI Galway and the University of Limerick to offer essential aid in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.

The new global platform is designed to help local organisations, such as industry, businesses, universities and labs provide available personal protective equipment.

Quick profiling of immune response in patients to be researched

A new working group has been established to give healthcare professionals the ability to quickly profile the immune response of severely ill patients with a view to guiding therapeutic options. The working group comprises of the University’s top academics in the fields of haematology, immunology and ID.

Following the evidence

The teams in Evidence Synthesis Ireland, Cochrane Ireland and the HRB-TMRN, all based in NUI Galway are, with the help of the University Library and colleagues throughout the University and broader research community, supporting a number of prioritised COVID-19 related projects including membership of the International Cochrane COVID-19 Executive Response Team, conducting rapid updates of Cochrane systematic reviews (e.g., personal protection equipment), mapping of COVID-19 evidence and conducting a number of World Health Organisation prioritised rapid reviews of evidence.

Inspire project – collaborating with industry

The Inspire project, led by Professors Martin O'Halloran and John Laffey, is an industry-academic partnership based at NUI Galway, designed to deliver fast-to-clinic medical devices to support the COVID-19 effort. The Inspire team is composed of over 30 clinicians, medical physicists, engineers and other healthcare staff from UHG, NUI Galway and the local medtech industry. The team have a number of development streams, addressing topics ranging from infection control to improving oxygen delivery to critically ill patients.

Other measures being worked on by the NUI Galway research community include; enhancing the capacity of doctors to provide respiratory support for COVID-19 patients; using data to accurately predict modelling and potential trends of the virus and preclinical studies into COVID-19; establishing a video-conferencing system in ICUs, to allow isolated quarantined patients keep in contact with their families.

“There are several emerging drug therapies for COVID-19, including antivirals, chloroquine and derivatives, steroids and immune modulating drugs. However, the research is at an early stage and further comparative studies are needed to determine their effectiveness before we will know what are the best therapies for COVID patients. Our research focuses on what we already know about virus induced severe respiratory failure and how we can quickly adapt it to make early and effective interventions to save the lives of thousands of people.”

Professor John Laffey, Vice Dean for Research at NUI Galway’s College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences, and Professor of Anaesthesia, NUI Galway and Consultant in Anaesthesia and Intensive Care Medicine at Galway University Hospitals.