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Chloroquine/Hydroxychloroquine prevention of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the healthcare setting; a randomised, placebo-controlled prophylaxis study (COPCOV) 30 Sep 2020

There is no proven treatment, chemoprophylaxis or vaccine for COVID-19. This is the most serious pandemic emergency for 100 years. Healthcare workers are being affected disproportionately in the continuing epidemic threatening an imminent breakdown of health services. Chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine are safe and well-tolerated medications which can be taken for years without adverse effects.Both have significant antiviral activity against SARS-CoV-2 and there is emerging evidence from China and Europe of efficacy in treatment. Unfortunately there is also premature recommendation from countries such as India which now recommends low dose hydroxychloroquine for prophylaxis in health care workers. We propose conducting a multi-centre, multi-country randomised, double blind, placebo controlled assessment of the prophylactic efficacy of chloroquine (Asia) or hydroxychloroquine (Europe) in preventing COVID-19 illness in at-risk healthcare workers and other frontline staff. At least 40,000 participants in Asia and Europe will be randomised 1:1 to receive chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine or a matched film coated placebo as daily prophylaxis for three months. The study’s objectives are the prevention of symptomatic coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and the attenuation of the clinical severity.

Amount: £6,920,135
Funder: The Wellcome Trust
Recipient: University of Oxford
Amount: £224,392
Funder: The Wellcome Trust
Recipient: University of Sheffield

Serological studies to quantify SARS-CoV-2 population infection risk in Singapore, Hong Kong and Thailand 30 Sep 2020

We propose a prospective serological study to investigate the incidence of SARS-CoV-2 infection in the general population in three Asian settings: Singapore, Hong Kong and Thailand. The study will aim to measure the age-specific seroprevalence and incidence of SARS-CoV-2 infection at 3 time points, each 6 months apart. Age-specific incidence estimates will be applied to the census population to obtain numbers of infections in the population at each time point. These estimates will be compared with external data on COVID-19 hospitalisations and deaths in each setting, to calculate age-specific infection-hospitalisation and infection-fatality ratios. SARS-CoV-2 antibody kinetics will be defined by studying changes in antibody titres over time. Risk factors for infection will be studied by comparing SARS-CoV-2 seroconverters and non-seroconverters with respect to epidemiological exposures. This study will provide crucial information regarding population exposure and SARS-CoV-2 transmission dynamics, and will provide a complete picture of the relationship between clinically apparent and asymptomatic infections.

Amount: £823,390
Funder: The Wellcome Trust
Recipient: National University of Singapore

The African coaLition for Epidemic Research, Response and Training, Clinical Characterization Protocol (ALERRT CCP) 30 Sep 2020

As part of the response to the emergence of COVID-19, the World Health Organization Africa Regional Office is organizing various Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) and critical care training activities targeted at Low and Middle-Income countries (LMICs) in Africa. While the initiatives taken by WHO/AFRO are critical, training for research into the disease also needs to be targeted at the same LMICs, because being an Emerging Infectious Disease, we need to "learn-as-we-go". Clinical research on COVID-19 will have to be closely integrated with the IPC, clinical care, and epidemiological training activities, including use of the WHO First Few X (FFX) Cases and contact investigation protocol for COVID-19. ALERRT proposes to work closely with the WHO/AFRO and Africa CDC and existing networks and structures across Africa and globally to provide the fore-mentioned clinical research training and support. ALERRT is a member of the Global Federation - ISARIC, which has developed a Clinical Characterization protocol for COVID-19. This protocol been endorsed by the WHO and is currently being used in China and across the UK and Europe.Being already established and conducting activities in sub-Sahara Africa, the ALERRT network has the capacity to effectively implement the proposed project.

Amount: £1,416,424
Funder: The Wellcome Trust
Recipient: Kwame Nkrumah University of Science a...

Characterization of SARS-CoV-2 transmission dynamics, clinical features and disease impact in South Africa, a setting with high HIV prevalence 30 Sep 2020

Factors prevalent in Africa such as malnutrition, HIV, tuberculosis and limited access to healthcare, among others, may impact both transmission dynamics and disease progression associated with SARS-CoV-2 infection as well as the burden on the healthcare system and society.We aim to characterize key transmissibility and clinical features of and the antibody response to SARS-CoV-2 as well as to enhance surveillance for COVID-19, identify groups at increased risk of severe illness, estimate the disease burden of medically- and non-medically attended mild, severe-non-fatal and fatal illness and forecast the impact of the outbreak on the healthcare system and the society in South Africa. Particular emphasis will be given to HIV-infected individuals. The aims will be achieved through the implementation of shedding and household transmission studies, collection of sequential serum samples, enhanced facility-based (hospitals and clinics) surveillance among patients with mild and severerespiratory illness in well-established population-based surveillance sites where incidence can be calculated, and healthcare utilization and serological surveys in selected communities. In addition, digital surveillance (based on Google searches) will be used to complement virological surveillance and nowcasting and short-term forecasting (up to 4 weeks) will be implemented over the duration of the epidemic.

Amount: £2,003,681
Funder: The Wellcome Trust
Recipient: Wits Health Consortium (Pty) Ltd

Investigation of pre-existing immunity to coronaviruses; implications for immunopathology and pathophysiology of COVID-19 disease 30 Sep 2020

Background; It is unknown how prior exposure to commonly circulating human coronaviruses (HCoV) impacts immunity against highly-pathogenic species (SARS, SARS-CoV-2 & MERS). There are limited data, across Europe, Asia and Africa, on the prevalence of infection and seroconversion against widely circulating and mildly symptomatic HCoVs (229E, NL63, OC43, and HKU1). There is a current supposition that antibody-dependent-enhancement (ADE) may play a role in the pathophysiology of COVID-19. ADE occurs when non-neutralizing antiviral proteins facilitate virus entry into host cells, leading to increased infectivity in the cells. In such cases, higher viremia has been measured and the clinical course of disease can be more severe. In preclinical animal models, immunopathology was observed after challenge following vaccination with some SARS vaccines. Therefore, concerns have been raised regarding the impact of immunopathology and ADE on prophylactic vaccination against SARS and possibly SARS-CoV-2. Goals: to perform detailed systems serology of pre-existing immunity, in children and adults, from the UK and Africa, towards novel and commonly circulating coronaviruses. Impact: These studies highlight the limited knowledge in the field and a need for a systematic approach to investigate cross-reactive humoral immunity against HCoV to inform the immunopathology and pathophysiology of COVID-19.

Amount: £1,217,834
Funder: The Wellcome Trust
Recipient: University of Oxford

COVID-19 Intervention Modelling for East Africa (CIMEA) 30 Sep 2020

COVID-19 is a global threat to health, with many countries reporting extended outbreaks. To date 9 countries in Africa have recorded infection and it seems imminent that East Africa will have introductions and onward transmission. The SARS-CoV-2 virus (the aetiological agent of COVID-19) spreads rapidly (R0~2, serial interval about 1 week), and hence control will be difficult. National plans for dealing with this public health emergency will benefit from predictions of the expected rate, distribution and extent of spread in countries throughout the region, and on the likely impact and feasibility of isolation and contact tracing interventions. We will support the emergency preparations through bespoke modelling, incorporating known demographic population structure, age-related contact patterns and existing mobile phone population movement data. In Uganda and Kenya we will collect epidemiological, genomic and behavioural data through health facility surveillance, household follow-up and contact studies to quantify uncertainties of SARS-CoV-2 virus epidemiology and contact patterns in well and unwell individuals. Results from the study will be rapidly communicated to the relevant authorities, and modelling code and analysis, and data including sequences, placed in the public domain in near real-time. This project could have lasting impact on the role of research in policy decisions.

Amount: £1,030,349
Funder: The Wellcome Trust
Recipient: University of Warwick

A comprehensive study of immunopathogenesis of SARS-CoV-2 infection 30 Sep 2020

Since December 2019 the emergence of severe acute respiratory infections (COVID-19) in China, caused by the new coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, has posed a huge threat to global health with fatality rates up to 10% in elderly patients. Almost 100% of patients showed bilateral patchy shadows or ground glass opacity in their lungs by chest CT scans indicating acute lung injury (ALI). Therefore, understanding the underlying mechanism(s) of ALI induced by SARS-CoV-2 is very important to inform vaccine safety and immunotherapeutic strategies. In this proposal, we will investigate the host immune responses and their association with severity of ALI in patient samples and animal models. We will bring together a team of experts with complementary expertise including immunopathology in coronavirus infections, up-to-date lab technologies, and know-how to ensure the feasibility of this study with the following goals: 1) defining SARS-CoV-2 specific serum profiles (epitopes) using yeast display antigen library 2) determining antibody functions including antibody-dependent enhancement (ADE) vs neutralizing activities in vitro assays 3) studying T cell (CD4 and CD8) responses to whole SARS-CoV-2 genome 4) evaluating ALI in response to live SARS-CoV-2 infection with or without passive immunity (antibody or T cells) generated from vaccine candidates in a humanized mice model.

Amount: £864,564
Funder: The Wellcome Trust
Recipient: Imperial College London

African COVID-19 Preparedness (AFRICO19) 30 Sep 2020

Our project, AFRICO19, will enhance capacity to understand SARS-CoV-2/hCoV-19 infection in three regions of Africa and globally. Building on existing infrastructures and collaborations we will create a network to share knowledge on next generation sequencing (NGS), including Oxford Nanopore Technology (MinION), coronavirus biology and COVID-19 disease control. Our consortium links three African sites combined with genomics and informatics support from the University of Glasgow to achieve the following key goals: 1. Support East and West African capacities for rapid diagnosis and sequencing of SARS-CoV-2 to help with contact tracing and quarantine measures. Novel diagnostic tools optimized for this virus will be deployed. An African COVID-19 case definition will be refined using machine learning for identification of SARS-CoV-2 infections. 2. Surveillance of SARS-CoV-2 will be performed in one cohort at each African site. This will use established cohorts to ensure that sampling begins quickly. A sampling plan optimized to detect initial moderate and severe cases followed by household contact tracing will be employed to obtain both mild to severe COVID-19 cases. 3. Provide improved understanding of SARS-CoV-2 biology/evolution using machine learning and novel bioinformatics analyses. Our results will be shared via a real-time analysis platform using the newly developed CoV-GLUE resource.

Wellcome Leap Inc. – Interim award 30 Sep 2020

In early February 2020 Wellcome’s BoG approved the appointment of Regina Dugan as CEO of the Wellcome Leap Fund (WLF), the relocation of the WLF’s primary place of business to the U.S. and the creation of a U.S. not-for-profit entity within the Wellcome group (Leap US). This grant is a mobilisation fund to support the initial activities required for Leap US’ set up and strategy development, prior to the awarding of full grant which will be administered upon BoG approving the CEO’s strategy and business plan for the WLF.

Amount: £782,901
Funder: The Wellcome Trust
Recipient: Wellcome Leap Inc.

Core costs grant 30 Sep 2020

Not available

Amount: £50,000
Funder: The Wellcome Trust
Recipient: Genetic Alliance UK

Detecting and Excluding Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) at the Point of Need 30 Sep 2020

Rapid diagnostics have been identified by the WHO R & D Blueprint as a critical unmet need for the control of COVID-19 - particularly in the absence of a vaccine and proven antiviral agents. Our primary objective is to develop a low cost, high performance rapid test for the detection and exclusion of SARS-CoV-2, the causative virus of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The technology will be made available in line with the Global Access Policy for Gavi-eligible countries that are most vulnerable to onward transmission of COVID-19 and of limited detection due to insufficient laboratory capacity. The RDT will be appropriate for assembly and manufacture with multiple quality-assured partners to meet demand.

Amount: £888,104
Funder: The Wellcome Trust
Recipient: Mologic Ltd

Malawi-Liverpool-Wellcome Trust COVID-19 Epidemic Preparedness 30 Sep 2020

Malawi is at high risk of COVID-19 epidemic spread, the healthcare system is fragile and the population vulnerable to severe disease. This application proposes Malawi Liverpool Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Programme preparedness activities for epidemic COVID-19 disease. These are split into three work packages: 1) Diagnostic capacity and genomics surveillance; 2) Secondary care; 3) Epidemiology and control. Strategically, we have designed our activities to develop a platform for MLW to rapidly pivot into response mode to both support the healthcare system and deliver excellent research for current and future epidemic disease threats. Key goals for this proposal are: Provide diagnostic capability in Malawi for the COVID-19 epidemic Develop clinical and epidemiological tools to manage epidemic disease in Malawi

Amount: £249,926
Funder: The Wellcome Trust
Recipient: Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine

Decoding Genetic Studies from Pakistan - A Review of International, Regional and Local Guidelines and Compliance. 02 Mar 2020

I conducted research for my Masters thesis to explore, identify and examine ethical guidelines available for genetic studies and to then analyse and describe the extent to which researchers in Pakistan, comply with existing ethical standards specified for genetic research. I report in my thesis that there are no guidelines for genetic research, gene therapy or gene editing in Pakistan. I also found some other patterns in the studies reviewed that I would like to present in the form of a publication in a peer reviewed journal as I feel they will provide a foundation of behavioural practises of researchers in Pakistan. I would also like to use the findings as a starting point to develop and propose guidelines for researchers for genetic research, gene therapy and gene editing in Pakistan. I want to propose guidelines that can be incorporated effectively into practise for which I will need to identify effective training, implementation and monitoring of the guidelines. Key goals: 1. Develop a better understanding of the ethical review process of international collaborations in the UK 2. Produce a draft of a paper for submission to a peer reviewed journal 3. Propose an outline of guidelines for researchers in Pakistan

Amount: £4,707
Funder: The Wellcome Trust
Recipient: The Aga Khan University, Pakistan

Young European Takes on “Healthy Lives and Well-Being for all” 30 Sep 2020

The European Youth Parliament (EYP) is based on the idea that the great challenges of our time cannot be tackled on a national level alone, but need to be addressed multilaterally. Moreover, the EYP leverages a new generation of young changemakers to be part of the solution. As the umbrella organisation of the EYP, the Schwarzkopf Foundation Young Europe is proposing a project that will bring various interconnections between "Health" and "Politics" to the forefront of debate among young people across Europe. The project will bring together young people from across Europe with decision-makers and experts, to debate today’s pressing topics in the field of health, and to develop positions that will be shared with decision-makers and the public. Discussions will take place in a variety of formats and settings, constituting a broad consultation process that will aggregate "young opinions" from across Europe, which are then to be shared in close-up debates with decision-makers (especially in the context of Germany’s EU Council presidency) - as well as with young peers, and the broader public.

Amount: £79,890
Funder: The Wellcome Trust
Recipient: Schwarzkopf Stiftung Junges Europa

GMCDP Archive Assessment and Collections Appraisal 30 Sep 2020

GMCDP’s archive collection reveals the changing perspectives, language and attitudes towards disabled people that have occurred over recent decades. It highlights changes in medical practices, discussions and debates around bio-ethics and end of life issues, campaigns for independent living, the self-organisation of disabled people, development of disability culture, and the significant impact of wider health determinants. Following on from feedback on a previous application to Wellcome Trust, GMCDP recognises the need to have a more detailed, specialist assessment of our collection in order to be able to move forwarded to the next stage. GMCDP are therefore seeking to carry out an archivist assessment and collections appraisal of our archives, and will commission Janice Tullock Associates (archivist) and Sharon Oldale (conservator) to provide the following outcomes: Survey the collection to assess its needs. Assess the level of cataloguing the collection requires. Develop a statement of the significance of the collection. Provide a detailed report on findings, with recommendations. Develop a project plan for the cataloguing of the archive. Assess the level of archivist and specialist input required throughout the duration of the project. Conservation assessment and recommendations.

Amount: £176,431
Funder: The Wellcome Trust
Recipient: Sheffield Hallam University


The purpose of this proposal is to develop an African, Regional interdisciplinary forum on the ethics, governance, engagement and social acceptability of Genome Editing in Africa. In spite of the discussions on Genomics, most African countries are yet to adequately engage in the critical debate on the regulation and ethics of genome editing. It is pertinent to have collaborative partnerships to focus on prudent research-based advocacy, to ensure truly informed policy decision making on gene editing in Africa. The key goals of this proposal is to disseminate the key outcomes of the 2019 GFBR meeting on" Genome Editing for Human Benefit: Ethics, Engagement and Governance", and to develop a proposal to take the outcome of this meeting further so as to begin an African oriented discussion on genome editing from the perspective of Africans. There will also be a research paper to be published in a peer-reviewed journal. Also, the focus of this proposal is to have a two-day workshop in Nigeria with key stakeholders from Africa discussing the ethical, governance and engagement issues relevant to Africa in Genome Editing that arose from the Singapore meeting.The meeting will promote collaborations between African Countries on the best practices in Genome Editing

Amount: £7,340
Funder: The Wellcome Trust
Recipient: University of Ibadan

Towards an Appropriate African Framework for Public Engagement with Human Genome Editing 02 Mar 2020

The novel biotechnology of the CRISPR-Cas9 method has certainly precipitated unprecedented interest as well as concern with regard to the scientific reality of human genome editing. This excitement and anxiety become even more acute in resource-limited settings where there is limited awareness and engagement between the experts in human genomics and gene editing and the public. Hence, there is an urgent need for effective public engagement. The purpose of my fellowship is to get vital mentorship in public engagement with human genome editing. My aim is to benchmark with best practice at NHGRI and work towards developing an appropriate African framework for public engagement with human genome editing. My visit will also be a unique opportunity for me to network and cultivate opportunities for north-south collaborative partnerships. Besides, the acquired knowledge and skills will greatly contribute towards Africa’s capacity-building. I plan to effectively disseminate my work, including at least one publication in a reputable peer-reviewed journal. Thus my trip is in line with GFBR’s goal of bringing together key stakeholders from developing and developed countries in addressing frontier bioethical concerns in research. It is also relevant to GFBR’s goals of capacity-building and of fostering effective collaborative partnerships.

Amount: £7,459
Funder: The Wellcome Trust
Recipient: No Organisation

Ethics of human genome editing from Islamic and Confucian perspectives 02 Mar 2020

This project aims to explore Islamic and Confucian perspectives on ethical issues pertaining to human genome editing namely safety and efficacy of the technology, human dignity and rights, modifying God’s creation, and human genetic enhancement. It will identify the similarities and differences between both perspectives and highlight the common ethical principles that could be applied in assessing the permissibility of human genome editing technology. This project is a qualitative study that involve normative literature analysis and comparative analysis between Islamic and Confucian perspectives. Given that Islam and Confucianism are among the main ethical traditions in the world, findings from this project would help stakeholders in understanding both perspectives and formulating policies and guidelines regarding responsible research and use of human genome editing. It is hoped that it would encourage more cross-cultural studies that contribute to the global discussion on ethics of human genome editing.

Amount: £2,118
Funder: The Wellcome Trust
Recipient: University of Malaya