Coronavirus: NYU Abu Dhabi awards 10 research grants to fight Covid-19

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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - New York University Abu Dhabi has awarded 10 grants for research with the potential to mitigate the effect of Covid-19.

The Covid-19 Facilitator Research Grants were awarded to faculty in the disciplines of engineering, science and social sciences.

“These research awards announced today are part of a larger collaborative and co-ordinated national effort to find solutions to the Covid-19 challenges we face,” said Sehamuddin Galadari, managing director of the university’s research institute.

“We hope that these projects, and the various other projects initiated prior to this announcement, will help address how we can heal and be prepared for future pandemics,” he said.

“It is through sustainable investment in research and development and co-ordinated collaboration across the nation that we will, as a unified collective, and defeat Covid-19.”

Two grants were awarded in biomedical engineering.

We hope that these projects ... will help address how we can heal and be prepared for future pandemics

Sehamuddin Galadari, NYU Abu Dhabi

The first is for the development of a bandage that detects the immune response to severe acute respiratory syndrome and the presence of Covid-19 with a finger-prick blood drop test.

The second is for the development of a low-cost chip that can quickly detect and extract RNA from patient samples.

Grants were awarded to computer scientists, physicists, biologists and chemists for research ranging from diagnostic methods, protein detection and Sars-Cov-2 replication.

But the effect of the pandemic goes beyond health. Four grants were awarded to the social sciences to examine the pandemic's social and economic impact.

Political scientists are compiling a data set of government policy announcements made in response to the pandemic, so that policymakers can examine the effectiveness of different policies.

Additionally, public policy professors are exploring how prevention measures change our interactions, social networks, labour market and social norms.

In economics, professors are developing a metric to predict the severity of the pandemic’s economic, the consequences of reopening after a lockdown, and which sectors and countries are exposed to the disruption of global value chains.

Finally, economists investigate the pandemic’s impact on job reallocations, and wage and price adjustments.

“A global problem demands a global response,” said the university’s provost, Fabio Piano.

The university has collaborated closely with other research institutes in the UAE and abroad to study the impacts of the virus.

“Partnerships and co-ordination with local entities and institutions are a vital component in supporting broader efforts to address the pandemic and resulting challenges," Mr Piano said.

"And we are confident that these research projects designed to respond to the challenge of the virus in the UAE and around the world will pave the way for new insight and new approaches to better understand, address, and manage the impact of Covid-19.”

Covid-19 outbreak in the UAE:

Medical staff inside a Covid-19 screening centre at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi. Christopher Pike / Reuters

Frontline workers, such as medics leading the fight against Covid-19, are being recognised in the UAE. Courtesy: Reuters    

A healthcare worker tests a man for Covid-19 at a screening facility in Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi. Courtesy: Reuters

A health worker examines a sample taken from a labourer in the Al Quoz district of . The UAE has significantly increased testing for the coronavirus that causes Covid-19. AFP

A medic takes samples from a worker at a testing centre in the Al Quoz district of Dubai. AFP

A man wearing a protective mask has his body temperature reading taken upon arriving at the police station of Naif locality, as part of screenings for COVID-19 coronavirus disease, in the Gulf emirate of Dubai on April 15, 2020. / AFP / KARIM SAHIB

An employee wears a protective face mask and shield while collecting carts outside a Lulu hypermarket in Dubai. Bloomberg

A man, wearing protective masks to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, has his temperature taken at the Ibn Battuta mall in the Emirate of Dubai on April 27, 2020. The United Arab Emirates decided on April 23 to reopen malls, cafes and restaurants and ease lockdown restrictions imposed last month to prevent the spread of coronavirus on the occasion of Ramadan. / AFP / GIUSEPPE CACACE

Officials said the country was at a "critical stage in fighting Covid-19". Mahmoud Khaled / EPA

Updated: July 23, 2020 04:45 PM

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