Thursday, April 25, 2024

Wellington university wins COVID-19 study contract

Victoria University of Wellington has been awarded a contract to carry out a study into the patient impacts of COVID-19.

The study will have a particular focus on key populations including Māori, Pacific people, people with disabilities and those people who contracted COVID-19 through their employment. The evidence will be used to generate recommendations for how health services can best be oriented to be accessible, equitable, and meet the needs of people with COVID-19.

“This research project will establish a multidisciplinary longitudinal study of people in Aotearoa New Zealand who have had COVID-19,” said Ministry of Health, Chief Science Advisor, Ian Town (pictured).

“It’s important that we improve our understanding of the short and longer-term physical, psychological, and economic impacts of COVID-19 on affected people in Aotearoa New Zealand, and to highlight any equity issues faced by this cohort.

“The SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19 is constantly evolving, as we are seeing with recent cases of the Delta variant in the community. The more we understand the different effects the disease has on people the more we can plan our health responses,” said Dr Town.

Victoria University of Wellington.

An open tender process by the Ministry of Health called for a collaborative proposal by researchers who together have the credibility, connections and capability to design, lead and execute such a project.

The Research Trust of Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington have been granted $1.2 million for the project, which will be undertaken by Te Hikuwai Rangahau Hauora—Health Services Research Centre (HSRC) over a period of approximately 12 months. The findings will be shared with all participants and published by the research team.

The research will include those with laboratory confirmed or probable COVID-19.

“It is so important to get the stories out there of what it has been like for everyone who has actually contracted COVID-19,’ said co-lead investigator Dr Lynne Russell (Ngāti Kahungunu, Kāi Tahu), HSRC’s senior Māori health researcher at Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington,” Dr Town said.

“This research will not only give voice to the over 2,500 people in Aotearoa who have had a diagnosis of COVID-19. It will also provide greater clarity for others to base their decision-making on around how best they can protect themselves and their whānau going forward.”

He said the research team would not have direct contact details with patients but will instead contact individuals via the Ministry of Health. Alternatively, people who have had COVID may get in touch with the HSRC directly.

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