Ulster University project to research therapies for long Covid

Researchers to collaborate with Dell and Seagate

Ulster University has teamed up with Dell Technologies and Seagate to research Covid-19 treatments in a bid to find more effective therapies for those with severe and long Covid symptoms.

The collaboration will allow advanced analyses of Covid-19 patient data.The research team at the university will examine large volumes of medical datasets to if there are links between Covid-19, genetic make-up and the severity of the disease.

It could help to inform decisions around drug treatments for Covid, as well as showing how genes may influence vaccination efficiency.

Data storage company Seagate, and multinational IT company Dell Technologies are providing the infrastructure for the research project, which will be carried out at the Northern Ireland Centre for Stratified Medicine based at C-TRIC on the Altnagelvin hospital campus in Derry.

"We are delighted this crucial infrastructure is now set up, thanks to Seagate and Dell Technologies as without this data storage and IT capacity we could not undertake this work," said Prof Tony Bjourson, professor of genomics and director of the Northern Ireland Centre for Stratified Medicine at C-TRIC at Altnagelvin.

The study recently completed the recruitment of 500 Covid-19 patients from the North for whole genome sequencing, which means reading the sequencing of the 3.2 billion chemical letters that make up each of our genomes.

Research transforms lives

“This generates huge amounts of raw data that has to be stored to allow very advanced computational genomic analyses,” Prof Bjourson said. “This collaboration, which came about when Seagate and Dell Technologies responded to our call for assistance, offers a good example of how research transforms lives and how technology acts as a catalyst for innovation. ”

The collaboration is part of the Data4Good initiative, which is aimed at data usage for the benefit of humanity.

"We're proud to build on our strong partnership with Ulster University through technology and expertise to help their researchers unlock insights into Covid-19 and uncover treatment options for those impacted by the virus," said Jason Ward, vice-president and managing director of Dell Technologies Ireland. "With the latest Dell Technologies storage systems and back-end infrastructure, the team at Ulster University will have immediate access to the data and applications needed to drive their research forward."

Ciara O'Brien

Ciara O'Brien

Ciara O'Brien is an Irish Times business and technology journalist