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Coronavirus

New funding for Swansea University to look at impact of COVID-19 on cardiovascular disease

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Swansea University has received £125k of funding from Health Data Research UK (HDR UK) to study the impact of the direct and indirect effects of COVID-19 on cardiovascular disease (CVD).

The £125,196 funding award will allow the Swansea University team made up of public health professors, researchers, data scientists, cardiology and biomedical professors, based in Population Data Science and working with colleagues at Swansea Bay University Health Board, to work in partnership with a UK-wide research consortium to examine the impact of cardiovascular disease on Covid-19 and the impact of Covid-19 on cardiovascular disease.

This research forms part of the CVD-COVID-UK flagship project consortium, which is led by the British Heart Foundation (BHF) Data Science Centre, at HDR UK. This project aims to understand the relationship between COVID-19 and cardiovascular diseases such as heart attack and stroke on the UK population.

The Swansea multi-disciplinary team of data analysts, statisticians and mathematical modellers will work with the consortium to examine Welsh population data held in the Secure Anonymised Information Linkage (SAIL) Databank, a state of the art privacy-protecting system, funded by Welsh Government as part of the national research infrastructure, which has supported hundreds of population and clinical studies over the last 11-years.

Swansea University will provide crucial support to this UK-wide project along with access to, support for and collaboration on the analysis of the SAIL Databank, to evaluate both direct and indirect harms from COVID-19.

This evaluation will provide detailed and insightful analyses for the growing policy, operational and research communities, which include the Welsh Government’s COVID-19 Technical Advisory Group (TAG), the Scientific Advisory Group on Emergencies (SAGE), Public Health Wales, NHS, local government, third sector organisations and the Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Modelling (SPI-M).

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Project lead Ashley Akbari, senior research manager and data scientist at Population Data Science at the university’s Medical School said: “This award represents a milestone in collaborations between Swansea University, the BHF Data Science Centre, CVD-COVID-UK and HDR UK – working together to enable research around the direct and indirect impacts of COVID-19 for people with cardiovascular conditions. We hope with this grant to continue the team science-based culture that has been present to date, which has enabled the delivery of crucial intelligence and outcomes around COVID-19 in collaboration with partners around the UK.”

Professor Ronan Lyons, Public Health at Population Data Science at Swansea University, added: “The BHF HDR UK investment is a significant commitment and will enable our team in Swansea to carry out this critical work that will underpin a range of research going forward. Linking and analysing the data can increase our understanding of CVD and COVID-19 and help accelerate treatments and reduce the impact on the population – benefiting people here in the UK and worldwide.”

Professor Cathie Sudlow, Director of the BHF Data Science Centre, at HDR UK, said: “The BHF Data Science Centre is delighted to be working on this important initiative with experts in large scale data linkage and analysis at Swansea University. The partnership will make a crucial contribution to our vision of improving the public’s cardiovascular health through population-wide health data research during the COVID pandemic and beyond.”


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Coronavirus

Swansea professor’s COVID contribution recognised with new honour

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A Swansea academic at the forefront of shaping our understanding of Covid-19 has received further recognition for his work in the field of data science.

Co-director of Population Data Science and Clinical Professor of Public Health at Swansea University, Professor Ronan Lyons has been elected to a prestigious European body, the Academia Europaea.

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This latest honour follows on from Professor Lyons becoming a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences and being appointed OBE in the New Year’s honours.

The focus of his work is the use of routinely collected data to better understand factors that influence health and wellbeing and developing and evaluating interventions aimed to improve the health of the public. He has led some of the largest studies ever undertaken in this field and contributed to research surrounding the pandemic and its consequences at Wales, UK and European level.

Professor Lyons said he was delighted to have been recommended for membership of the prestigious Academia Europaea, which aims to encourage the highest possible standards in scholarship, research and education, and promote a better public understanding of the benefits of learning.

He said: “This honour is a recognition of the shared efforts and hard work of the various teams and partners I’ve had the privilege of working with over the years. None more so than over the last two years, during the pandemic.

“Through the European Population Health Information Research Infrastructure (PHIRI) Project we’re developing research infrastructure to generate the best Covid-19 population health knowledge. The multi-disciplinary, One Wales working group provided crucial evidence to Welsh Government’s response to Covid community transmission and informed policy development across the UK.

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“The International Covid-19 Data Alliance (ICODA) partnership with Health Data Research UK and the Bills Gates Foundation and others, is supporting a globally coordinated approach to tackling Covid and future threats.

“This has been an incredibly challenging period for us all and I’m enormously proud that these labours have been acknowledged and rewarded by this election.”

Professor Lyons now joins more than 5,000 other eminent, individual scientists and scholars, who cover a broad range of academic disciplines that include former Nobel Prize laureates, Turing Award recipients and Fields Medal winners.

(Lead image: Swansea University)

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Carmarthen

Health board lifts visiting restrictions at Glangwili and Withybush hospitals

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Hywel Dda University Health Board has confirmed that restrictions for people visiting patients will be lifted in Glangwili and Withybush hospitals from Wednesday 20 July 2022.

Visiting to Bronglais Hospital, Prince Philip Hospital and community hospitals remain open, by appointment only.

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The health board are advised that it will still be a requirement to wear masks in Glangwili, Prince Philip and Withybush hospitals.

Mandy Rayani, Director of Nursing, Quality and Patient Experience, said: “Last week we had to make the decision to extend measures at Glangwili Hospital in addition to Withybush Hospital to reduce the risk to our patients and staff and we thank people for their support and co-operation.

“We can all continue to take protective measures to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19 to protect vulnerable people and the NHS.

“We strongly advise anyone in our locality who has the classic symptoms, or who suspects they may have COVID-19 to isolate and take an LFD test. If positive, we urge people to isolate – this will help you to rest and recover while protecting others from risk of transmission.”

(Lead image: Google Maps)

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Coronavirus

Mask wearing reinstated at Llanelli’s Prince Philip Hospital

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Hywel Dda University Health Board have said that all staff and visitors to Prince Philip Hospital must wear face masks (unless exempt) with immediate effect following the latest review of prevalence of COVID-19 in the community.

This follows the decisions made last week to reinstate mask wearing at Glangwili Hospital and both mask wearing and visiting restrictions at Withybush Hospital.

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The health board have said that visiting will continue in general at Glangwili and Prince Philip hospitals following the latest review of case numbers but local ward restrictions are in place so please contact the ward to arrange your visit in advance

Mandy Rayani, Director of Nursing, Quality and Patient Experience for Hywel Dda UHB, said: “Wearing a surgical mask or face covering and keeping a physical distance when attending a hospital or medical facility will help protect our most vulnerable patients and service users.

“We are grateful for the ongoing support and efforts of our communities to stop the spread, particularly around more vulnerable people.

“These measures will be continually reviewed, and as soon as it is safe to do so, we will ease these restrictions.”

The health board is stressing the continued importance of the behaviours known to reduce transmission of COVID-19 and other infectious diseases, and the different requirements in place in health and social care settings.

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Mandy, added: “Isolating if we have symptoms of COVID-19, or other infectious diseases, is one of the most important things we can do to prevent the onward spread and break the chain of transmission.

“We strongly encourage anyone in our locality who has the classic symptoms, or who suspects they may have COVID-19 to isolate and take an LFD test. If positive, we urge people to continue with the same isolation guidance that has been in place – this will help you to rest and recover and protect others from risk of transmission.”

Later this week, the Welsh Government will update its vaccine strategy with details of the next booster dose in the autumn.

The Chief Medical Officer for Wales, Sir Frank Atherton said:

“The vaccine is the best way to protect yourself and others from coronavirus. While the vaccine does not completely stop transmission it offers protection against serious illness and reduces the risk of hospitalisation.

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“You can still get the vaccine if you haven’t had your full course, or you were too ill to get your spring booster and I would encourage parents to think about getting the vaccine for their children over the summer months to help minimise any disruption to their education during the autumn and winter terms.”

(Lead image: Hywel Dda NHS)

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