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Researchers in Clinical Medicine awarded Government Rapid Response Funding for CoVID-19 research

The research projects are part of a coordinated COVID-19 Rapid Response Research, Development and Innovation programme with projects supported by Science Foundation Ireland, in partnership with the Department for the Economy and the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs in Northern Ireland, and the Irish Research Council and Health Research Board.

Project Title : Genes and COVID-19, what is the story in Ireland?

Lead Researchers :
Professor Ross McManus, Clinical Medicine, Trinity College Dublin
Professor Tony Bjourson, Ulster University

Summary :

The genetics of the population of Ireland may differ from other countries in ways that influence how the COVID-19 pandemic plays out on our island. However, we know little about the genomics of the Irish as it relates to this new virus. Science Foundation Ireland and the Northern Ireland Department for Economy will support a new project to sequence (read) the DNA of 1000 infected individuals from north and south of Ireland to determine how our genomes either promote or prevent this disease from taking hold or how sick we get when infected, and to look at how other issues, like age and gender, interact with genetics to affect the characteristics of the pandemic in Ireland.

What is the issue?

Genes likely play a role in how people respond to the COVID-19 virus, but we don't have data about the genomics of the Irish population in relation to COVID-19.

What will the research do?

The project will analyse samples from 1000 people from Ireland who have been infected with the COVID-19 virus and look at their genes, how their genes are switched on or off and at the bacteria in their mouths. This will build up our knowledge of how genes affect response to the COVID-19 virus.

What will the impact be?

The research will produce an all-Ireland repository of data about genes and the immune system in people from the island of Ireland, and this will be a tool to help us understand and combat COVID-19.

Professor Ross McManus, Professor in Molecular Medicine (Clinical Medicine), Trinity College, said:

This project will help us understand why we respond differently as individuals to the SARS-CoV-2 virus and which genes play outsize roles in fighting it. At the moment, we have no information on the Irish genome in this context. It's important to have as comprehensive a profile of our genetics as possible, so it is great that we have an all-island study with our colleagues in the north.