UL to establish institute for the study of infectious diseases
25 May 2020 | 0
The University of Limerick (UL) plans to establish a dedicated institute for the study of infectious diseases, including Covid-19.
The new institute – the Midwest Institute for Infectious Diseases – has already secured €3.5 million in seed funding from the JP McManus Pro-Am 2021.
It is hoped that the new institute will inform future planning for the response to Covid-19, as well as potential future outbreaks of other notifiable diseases.
Drawing on existing expertise across a range of disciplines including psychology, dietetics and physiotherapy, UL said the institute will provide a focal point for the future development of an extended research programme at UL focusing on post Covid-19 recovery.
Further, it should act as a regional testing and research centre for this and potential future viral outbreaks.
“Having a dedicated research institute for infectious diseases at UL allows us to put state of the art testing and research at the centre of a comprehensive understanding of viral disease in the Midwest region,” said Professor Norelee Kennedy, vice president for research at UL. “With this, an informed approach can be taken to detection, modelling and management of current and future viral outbreaks.”
Dr Des Fitzgerald, president at UL, added: “The collective expertise that UL has brought together will ensure the Midwest has the information to tackle Covid-19 based on the best science and research. It will in the first instance build a state-of-the-art laboratory at UL’s Park Point site to allow our researchers, clinicians, policy makers and medical community to identify who has been infected and link these data with national programmes aimed at contact tracing and measuring immunity in the population.
“The establishment of the this institute at UL will lead to national health and economic benefits from real-time data capture and analysis to inform the wider societal and economic response to Covid-19, including for example informing the impact of a phased return to work. In parallel it will shape our understanding of the impact of Covid-19 on people who have recovered from the disease.”