The focus on one retired professor as a prime source of Coronavirus expertise by parts of the corporate media and amongst some in the Brit Nat/Unionist clique is unwarranted but unsurprising! However, the Talking-Up Scotland Collective would rather introduce readers to the current, internationally renowned and diverse, research capability present in Scotland and to the contributions it is making during this global public health emergency.
Medical Research Council (MRC) centres in Scotland
Within the UK scientific research ‘system’ the MRC is the prime investor of public funds in research capability, projects and programmes concerning with human health. In terms of its response to Covid-19, the MRC highlights a small group of key centres across the UK, including two in Scotland.
MRC Centre for Virus Research at the University of Glasgow (CVR): “… represents the UK’s largest grouping of human and veterinary virologists. The Centre has contributed expertise to recent Ebola outbreaks, and is now working on SARS-CoV2 with £0.5m of supplementary funding. Working in collaboration with the NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde West of Scotland Specialist Virology Centre, CVR researchers completed the genomic sequencing and analysis of Scotland’s first confirmed Covid-19 case within 48 hours of diagnosis.”
The Centre has c. 20 principal investigators. This is supplemented with affiliates from the Boyd Orr Centre for Population and Ecosystem Health, Health Protection Scotland and NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde, to create a critical mass of researchers dedicated to the study of human and animal viral diseases. The CVR is embedded within the Institute of Infection, Immunity and Inflammation at the University of Glasgow which investigate virus-host interactions and immune response to virus infection.
MRC Protein Phosphorylation and Ubiquitylation Unit at the University of Dundee: “… working in partnership with the CVR, has identified 38 separate proteins produced by SARS-CoV-2 – the virus that causes COVID-19 – that produce an immune response in the body. The Dundee team is now manufacturing these components of the virus, in order to generate antibodies against them. When available the Unit will place these on its reagent website, so that researchers worldwide can easily order these tools.”
The Unit has more than ten principal investigators. It is working in partnership with the University of Dundee’s School of Life Sciences Drug Discovery Unit (DDU) on COVID-19 research.