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Saturday, 15 May 2021
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Charity makes call for research into COVID-19 to help protect children

DIRECTOR of Research at Action Medical Research, Dr Tracy Swinfield explains: “Medical research is underway to help beat COVID-19 but there is a lack of research specifically focusing on children and how the virus and the pandemic affect them. As a child health charity, we want to support research that aims to fill this gap.” 

Launching its call for research applications, alongside a £1 million fundraising appeal, the charity hopes to help address some key questions:

  • Why do some children with COVID-19 get so sick and others don’t?
  • Why are most children resilient against infection but others are vulnerable?

  • Can we better understand vaccines and treatments for COVID-19 in children?
  • How does the COVID-19 pandemic affect my child’s mental health?

Although children are not considered to be most at risk from coronavirus, tragically, some children are still vulnerable and COVID-19 has caused severe illness and loss of life for children across the world.

Children who have underlying health conditions, such as severe asthma, cystic fibrosis, obesity and diabetes, are at higher risk of developing serious complications from COVID-19. Children with weak or compromised immune systems may also be at higher risk of catching the virus and of developing severe disease.

Building on its track record of funding high-quality research that saves and changes children’s lives, Action has brought together an expert advisory group of leading children’s health researchers. The group has helped guide how the charity can best fund research in this important area.

Professor David Rowitch, Head of Paediatrics at the University of Cambridge, who is part of the advisory group said:

“The COVID-19 pandemic has affected children in ways we could never have predicted. New research is urgently needed to better understand the short and long-term impact of infection in the general population, and why certain children are particularly vulnerable.”

Dr Swinfield said:

“As a charity set up nearly seven decades ago to help beat polio, our track record of success includes helping to develop the Hib vaccine for meningitis and helping to test the rubella vaccine. Our funding also helped to develop the use of ultrasound scanning in pregnancy. Today, we continue our fight to fund top quality medical research to save the lives of babies, children and young people. We are forging ahead to help better understand the impact of COVID-19 in children.”

To fund this work, the charity has launched a £1 million COVID-19 appeal with Director of Fundraising Lewis Coghlin noting: “Action is tackling the biggest health issue of our time, on behalf of children – we warmly welcome support.”

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