The University of Limerick launches a dedicated institute for the study of infectious diseases
The University of Limerick have announced the initiation of a dedicated institute for the study of infectious diseases, including COVID-19. New research at this institute will involve future planning for the response to the COVID-19 outbreak, and potential future outbreaks of other contagious diseases, leveraging these academic expert areas together with the support of the UL Hospitals Group and other community health partners in the region.
The Midwest Institute for Infectious Diseases at the UL has already obtained funding of €3.5million in a philanthropic contribution from the JP McManus Pro-Am 2021, and is now being developed to advance in the expertise areas of medicine, health sciences, mathematics, statistics and life sciences at UL.
Professor Noralee Kennedy, the Vice President of Research at UL, said, “The COVID-19 pandemic presents many challenges societally, individually, economically and politically. A sound scientific approach to better understand the extent of the virus is central to an informed, sustainable response to the management of the pandemic.”
“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, and with this, an informed approach can be taken to detection, modelling and management of current and future viral outbreaks,“ she added.
Dr Des Fitzgeral, the President of UL, said, “The collective expertise that UL has brought together will insure 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 UL president went on to say, “Epidemics threaten us at regular intervals and the clear lesson from COVID-19 is that we need to stay prepared to tackle them with public health measures that are informed by the best science available. The establishment of 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.”
Drawing on existing expertise across a range of disciplines including psychology, physiotherapy and dietetics, this institute will provide a central point for the future development of an extended research programme at UL focusing on post COVID-19 recovery.
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