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Research into mental disorders as a side effect of COVID-19 is funded by the Academy of Finland

Eleanor Coffey, Research Director at Turku Bioscience, has received funding for the project Mitigating mental illness after effects of COVID-19 infection. The funding comes from the Academy of Finland’s special call for research into COVID-19.

Viral infection has been linked with mental disorders since the 18th century, with incidents of psychosis and affective disorders peaking with viral pandemics.

The aim of Coffey’s research is to mitigate long-term side effects to mental health in patients that have recovered from COVID-19. 

”We will analyse blood samples from COVID-19 patients using high throughput clinical proteomics, that is, the large-scale study of proteins. This will enable us to identify underlying mechanisms related to viral infection of brain, disease susceptibility and pathogenicity of the immune system that lead to post-infection serious mental illness,” says Coffey.

The research is made in collaboration with Rob Yolken at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, USA, and Marion Schneider at Ulm University Hospital, Germany.

With this special funding, the Academy of Finland wants to support and accelerate research into the COVID-19 epidemic and the mitigation of its effects and to support the utilisation of the research in society. 

The projects funded in this call cover a wide variety of topics that deal with the SARS-CoV-2 virus and the COVID-19 pandemic it causes, the societal impacts of the pandemic and the prevention and/or mitigation of its negative consequences. Altogether, the Academy allocated 8.45 million euros to the call. A bit less than 14 percent of the sub-applications received funding.

Turku Bioscience is a research centre hosted jointly by Åbo Akademi University and the University of Turku.