NIHR Global Health Research Unit on Respiratory Health (RESPIRE)

New projects to address COVID-19 pandemic launched under RESPIRE

Four new projects have been funded under the RESPIRE collaboration following an emergency call to address the current COVID-19 outbreak.

RESPIRE has invested over £100,000 in the projects, designed to accelerate research to build knowledge and inform the global response to COVID-19.

The projects build on existing partnerships and expertise from colleagues in Bangladesh, Malaysia and Pakistan. The studies will be conducted by RESPIRE partners in each country, in collaboration with the University of Edinburgh.

The research will address a range of topics, each focusing on priorities and gaps as identified by the World Health Organization (WHO), with the goal of delivering early and valuable outcomes. 

Supporting frontline health care workers

Two of the projects are addressing issues related to health care workers, who are at the forefront of the fight against the pandemic.

In Malaysia, a team will investigate the psychological issues faced by primary health care workers, with the aim of identifying approaches to support their health and psychosocial needs.

In Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, which hosts the world’s largest refugee camp, researchers will explore the perceptions and feelings of frontline health care workers. In particular, focusing on their understanding of self-preparation and protective measures, to inform the development of future strategies to protect and support a well-prepared frontline of health care workers.

Adhering to public health measures

Carefully designed public health interventions can play a significant role in containing COVID-19. Some of the most common measures, implemented in countries across the globe, include self-isolation and social distancing. However these interventions have proved hard to manage in places.

Based in Pakistan, one of the funded proposals will be investigating the perception, practice and attitude of the community towards containing the disease, to identify and develop interventions which are more likely to be accepted and acted upon by communities.

Using artificial intelligence to improve diagnosis

The forth project funded to address the current pandemic seeks to support diagnosis of the disease, harnessing the power of artificial intelligence (AI).

Deep learning models, a form of AI, are being widely researched and adopted for detection and diagnosis across a variety of diseases. Based in Pakistan, the team will develop and test a deep learning model to detect COVID-19 features in chest X-ray images.

More on the funded projects

Read more about the new projects by following the links below

Exploring psychological issues faced by primary care teams in Malaysia

Personal preparedness of frontline healthcare workers in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh

Community perception on effective approaches to promote adherence to public health measures

COVID-19 detection from chest X-rays using deep learning 

Explore all COVID-19 projects under the RESPIRE collaboration