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Home > News > Global Health Matters > Global Health Matters Sep/Oct 2020 > NIH Common Fund issues two awards for COVID-19 research in Africa Print

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NIH Common Fund issues two awards for COVID-19 research in Africa

September / October 2020 | Volume 19, Number 5

Dr. Haichong Zhang works with computer equipment in a lab wearing a mask.
Photo courtesy of Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Dr. Haichong Zhang received funding to assess his prototype
of a gantry-style lung ultrasound machine that can be operated
remotely and easily.

A robotic lung ultrasound machine will be tested for COVID-19 triage in Nigeria and a cohort of South African children will be studied for serological response to coronavirus - both with emergency support awarded through revisions to existing NIH Common Fund grants.

Dr. Haichong (Kai) Zhang - a robotics engineering professor at Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Massachusetts - received funding to assess his prototype of a gantry-style lung ultrasound machine that can be operated remotely and easily. He is collaborating with a team in Nigeria to check the suitability of the new robot to standardize diagnoses of COVID-19 patients, lower costs and keep medical staff safer in a resource-limited setting.

Zhang holds an NIH Director’s Early Independence Award to study an imaging-based approach to identifying aggressive prostate cancer.

Meanwhile, Human Heredity and Health in Africa (H3Africa) grantees Drs. Heather Zar and Mark Nicol received funding to investigate the spectrum of SARS-CoV-2 infection and COVID-19 symptoms in 900 well-characterized children in an existing cohort in South Africa. The children, 6-8 years old, will be followed to discern if previous infection with seasonal coronaviruses protects against infection with SARS-CoV-2 or the effects of COVID-19. In addition, the team will integrate serological data with other information such as diet to identify factors contributing to the mildness of COVID-19 symptoms in most infected adolescents.

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