There is currently little information about how COVID-19 has impacted people living with cystic fibrosis (CF), however, they may be at particular risk from this new respiratory virus and the various strains.
CF is a chronic condition that damages the lungs and leaves patients vulnerable to chest infections.
Dr Damian Downey, Clinical Senior Lecturer in Respiratory Medicine from the Wellcome-Wolfson Institute for Experimental Medicine (WWIEM )at Queen’s University, and Director of the Northern Ireland Regional Adult CF Centre, is leading a project which will measure COVID-19 antibody levels in thousands of people with cystic fibrosis across 17 European countries. It is funded by a $1.5m grant from the CF Foundation (US) over a two-year period.
Dr Downey explained :
“Viral respiratory tract infections can be more severe in people with CF than the general population, with an increased risk of complications and a negative impact on lung function.
“This new research project will explore infection and vaccination rates in those with CF and link to important clinical information over time. We can then understand how COVID-19 has impacted this vulnerable population, how long the antibodies last and the risk of future infections.”
Dr Downey is the Director of the European CF Society Clinical Trials Network which involves 58 research centres in 17 countries. This network will oversee the project and the WWIEM at Queen’s University will be the central European laboratory that will analyse the research results.