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St Andrews secures Covid-19 research projects

The University of St Andrews has been awarded three research projects as part of the Scottish Government’s Covid-19 Rapid Research programme.

Ministers commissioned rapid research by the academic research community in Scotland on the diagnosis, management and mitigation of the impact of Covid-19 infection and its aftermath in Scotland as part of the response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Each of the St Andrews projects is due to start in May and last for around six months. They are:

  • Identifying community Covid-19 cases and exploring differences with patients diagnosed in healthcare settings. Led by Professor Colin McCowan, the research applies computer techniques to extract key information from a tracker app and link this with medical records to get a better idea of the true number of people with the disease.
  • Modelling the Evolution of SARS-CoV-2 Virulence Under Different Social Isolation Regimes. Led by Dr Nathan Bailey, the research will use theoretical models to investigate how the virulence of SARS-CoV-2 evolves in response to different social distancing strategies.
  • Multiscale mathematical model to simulate Covid-19 infection. Led by Dr Ruth Bowness, the research will create a spatial mathematical model for Covid-19 that simulates infection in the body and the spread of disease from person to person to create a multiscale model capable of robust predictions.

Frank Sullivan, Professor of Primary Care Medicine at St Andrews, who coordinated the project applications, said: “We were glad to be able to respond quickly to the Government’s call for research into aspects of Covid-19 and will continue to play our part in the scientific effort to tackle and mitigate the threat of the virus.

“Many other projects are in development across the University building upon well-established programmes of research with world-leading expertise across the spectrum from basic science to policy, particularly in virology, data science and social science.”


Issued by the University of St Andrews Communications Office.

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