SOLVE magazine Issue 02 2021 | Page 6

spreading , and the impact that this has on patients ,” Dr Robson says . “ Being able to monitor the spread of the virus is important , and understanding these changes will be essential in the development of treatment and vaccines . So , using genomics is a strategic attempt to further understand the virus in order to help to track , predict and ultimately stop the spread of COVID-19 globally .”
The University of Portsmouth committed £ 40,000 to help with the work , in addition to funding from the Wessex Academic Health Science Centre and the UK Government ’ s £ 20 million investment into the consortium to study COVID-19 .
THE MEDICAL MYSTERIES Scientific help has also been made available to clinics treating COVID-19 patients . With the virus producing baffling clinical symptoms , such as blood clotting complications , a collaborative network of scientists has made important medical and scientific information on human physiology available to overstretched clinicians .
In one example , an information service called ‘ Questions from the frontline ’ was created by Mike Tipton , Professor of Human and Applied Physiology at the University of Portsmouth , and David Paterson , Professor of Cardiovascular Physiology at the University of Oxford .
The program allows clinicians to submit questions , comments and data from frontline clinics . The expert panel then mobilises expertise residing within the clinical and non-clinical physiology community on behalf of COVID-19 patients . The service operates as a joint venture between The Physiological Society and the Intensive Care Society .
“ The aim is to provide clinicians with an evolving understanding of the physiological and pathophysiological mechanisms that both underpin this disease and determine its outcome and mitigation ,” Professor Tipton says . Anyone can access the website to read the questions and responses ( physoc . org / covid19 / questions ) but only clinicians can register to ask questions or comment .
As new ideas are formulated , Dr Simon Kolstoe of the Portsmouth School of Health and Care Professions has made it possible to fast-track obtaining approvals from Public Health England ( PHE ) to conduct human studies . The process allows for studies that cover both efforts to control virus spread and the quest for treatments that reduce death rates .
Dr Kolstoe ’ s expertise is in ethics , integrity and governance . He says the initiative provides the responsiveness needed during a pandemic while maintaining ethical standards .
“ Research is key for addressing the challenges of COVID-19 , but even in a public emergency , research needs to be safe , rigorous and transparent ,” he
The team effort across a multitude of projects from the whole University to help tackle the pandemic has been phenomenal . When we come out of the other side of this global challenge we can say , as a University and a community , that we did everything we could to help .
– Ted Turnbull
ILLUSTRATION : HAZEM ASIF / UNSPLASH . SUBMITTED FOR UNITED NATIONS GLOBAL CALL OUT TO CREATIVES says . “ That ’ s the standard we maintained with the streamlined system .”
SUPPORT FOR THE FRONTLINE Other faculties too have found ways to help during the pandemic . In one striking example , Ted Turnbull and colleagues from the Faculty of Creative and Cultural Industries joined forces with the Faculty of Technology , with support from central Research and Innovation Services and Finance teams , to address the initial critical shortage of protective equipment among workers in the healthcare system .
Their first target was the rapid manufacture of face shields to augment and extend supplies of personal protective equipment during a critical shortage at the outset of the lockdown in early 2020 .
While initially using 3D printing technology and working with local partners The Makers Guild , the team developed a more rapidly producible shield using laser-cutting technology .
The team created a mini-manufacturing hub able to make in excess of 1,500 shields a day by moving from 3D printing to laser-cutting production processes , which reduced the manufacturing time per shield from one to two hours to just 30 seconds .
More than 2,000 shields were supplied to Queen Alexandra Hospital in Portsmouth and several thousand more to other NHS Trusts to allow their frontline staff to work more safely and confidently . A further 1,500 face shields were provided to Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service and Hampshire Constabulary .
The shield design was created by senior technician John Daltry and is freely available to download at port . ac . uk / collaborate / our-partnerships / laser-cutface-shields . The team also provided rapid research and development in response to a variety of requests made by the Portsmouth Hospitals University NHS Trust to meet critical needs .
“ The team effort across a multitude of projects from the whole University to help tackle the pandemic has been phenomenal ,” Mr Turnbull says . “ When we come out of the other side of this global challenge we can say , as a University and a community , that we did everything we could to help .”
This is the spirit that motivates colleagues throughout the University , with staff deeming it an honour to play a role matching human ingenuity against a virus that neither knows nor cares for human life .
ISSUE 02 / 2021