Hong Kong pumps an extra HK$343m to support local universities’ research on Covid-19

A further HK$343 million has been approved by the Food and Health Bureau and the Research Council today to support local universities in conducting research studies on Covid-19.

This is the third batch of funding, in addition to a total of HK$170 million approved under the Health and Medical Research Fund for 49 applications as announced on April 27 and August 5 last year.

The new funding will be used for 18 newly approved studies, including the evaluation of vaccine-induced immune response and vaccination safety for different groups, including young adolescents, adults, the elderly and cohorts receiving booster vaccinations, as well as the comparison of immunity status in naturally infected and vaccinated cohorts.

Hong Kong Secretary for Food and Health Sophia Chan Siu-chee, who also chairs the Research Council, said a total of HK$513 million has been approved to support 67 Covid-19 research studies from bench to bedside and at the community level through the application of new technologies.

“Early results of some studies show that both the Comirnaty [BioNTech] and CoronaVac [Sinovac] vaccines are highly effective in protecting the vaccinated population by preventing severe cases and death from Covid-19,” said Chan.

The health chief also added that the genomic sequencing of mutant variants isolated from clinical and environmental samples, such as sewage, will provide useful and timely information on reviewing quarantine arrangements of local cases with mutant strains, vaccine performance, and clinical management.

Interim results of these studies will be presented by the project teams at the Health Research Symposium 2021 to be held on November 23. Renowned overseas keynote speakers will also discuss their experience in research on Covid-19 and implementing research findings in clinical practice at the Symposium.

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