AIB to invest over €2 million in Covid-19 research hub at Trinity College Dublin
Rob Flynn
Staff Writer

The investment from AIB will play a vital role in the delivery of the Trinity Covid-19 Immunology Project.

It’s fair to say that when we hear the term ‘news’ it’s more often than not synonymous with ‘bad news’, especially during these extraordinary times we’re living through together.

It’s not everyday a positive news story that includes the phrase ‘Covid-19’ manages to filter its way through from the ether - but today is thankfully one of those days.

The largest bank in Ireland, AIB, has announced it will be joining forces with Trinity College Dublin to invest approximately €2.4 million in a new research hub dedicated to finding a cure for Covid-19.

To find out more about the investment in the project just read on!

Investment in immunology

The latest investment from AIB will see over €2 million going towards a new research hub, located within the Trinity Biomedical Sciences Institute, and will play a critical role in advancing the work of the Trinity Covid-19 Immunology Project.

The project will be a collaboration between Trinity Translational Medicine Institute and the Clinical Research Facility based on the St. James’s Hospital campus.

The hub will benefit from the involvement of immunologists and infectious disease clinicians, as well as scientists, respiratory disease physicians and intensive care specialists working with Covid-19 patients.

The immunology project will also make use of its ties with Trinity’s global network of contacts in universities such as M.I.T. in Boston, and Utrecht University in The Netherlands. 

Collaboration with these centres of medical advancement will significantly help to enable the quick exchange of knowledge and will help to make breakthroughs as quick and as swift as possible.

CEO of AIB, Colin Hunt said:

“In the face of this unprecedented medical, societal and economic crisis, it is imperative that we mobilise all the resources at our disposal in a strategic way. We are investing in a national and international endeavour to save lives. Trinity ranks in the top 1% of research institutions globally in medicine and biological sciences and its immunologists collaborate with the best internationally. 

This is an ambitious and pioneering project involving skilled researchers and cutting-edge technology that merits every assistance in developing solutions for the short, medium and long-term. The hub will also involve the expertise of Professor Luke O’Neill and immunologists and infectious disease clinicians from St James’s Hospital. Time is of the essence and our support for the Research Hub begins now.”

As well as AIB’s contribution to help accelerate the work being done, the hub will continue to accept contributions from other public and private sources.

Life-saving research

The research conducted as part of the immunology project will focus on addressing:

  • Design of new drugs and vaccines to combat the virus
  • The critical problem of supply and validation of commercial antibody testing kits
  • The development of rapid antibody testing to identify current and previous Covid-19 infection in healthcare workers, and eventually the wider community
  • The investigation of the immune response in infected and recovered Covid-19 patients to establish whether previous infection prevents re-infection, including serial sampling of patients at St James’s Hospital and other collaborating hospitals.

Trinity College Dublin Provost Patrick Prendergast said:

“The solution to the Covid-19 crisis will probably be found in university laboratories in the months ahead following collaboration between leading researchers across the globe. Trinity is one of the world’s leading universities when it comes to research into immunology and immunity and has the research expertise to play a major role. Donations such as this are a generous, practical and timely contribution to the fight against this terrible virus.”

AIB in the news

At the end of March AIB made the decision to postpone the planned introduction of maintenance and transaction fees on its current accounts due to the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.

The fees would see customers potentially paying upwards of €80 per year for use of its current account services, including facing additional charges for contactless payments.

The fees were due to come into effect from May 30th but have been postponed indefinitely.

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