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NEWS ROUNDUP: Catching Covid variants early & praise for schools in Hartlepool


Northumbria University has announced plans to develop method for catching coronavirus variants early and schools in Hartlepool have been praised.

Northumbria University is set to develop new methods for detecting Covid-19 ‘Variants of Concern’. It is hoped the findings will avoid allowing new variants to spread and it then being too late to intervene most effectively.

Since April 2020 academics from Northumbria University have been working with partners in the government-backed Covid-19 Genomics UK (COG-UK) consortium to map how Covid-19 spreads and evolves.

COG-UK consortium members have made major contributions to the pandemic response, helping to better understand the virus and equip public health agencies, the NHS and UK government with the tools to combat Covid-19.

But there is a wealth of research and development still to do, especially around variants, which have increasingly become one of the biggest concerns of the pandemic.

As part of an expansion of the COG-UK research portfolio, Northumbria University has been awarded a grant to further improve the way scientists monitor and map Covid-19.

The team will develop a computer program to screen mutations for potentially increased transmission and potential immune escape – when certain variants of the virus evolve to evade our natural or vaccine-induced resistance to it.

Stockton redevelopment
A huge revamp of plans to overhaul a Teesside town will include a new leisure centre and hundreds of staff moved south of the River Tees.
Stockton Splash will be shut down and replaced with a new £15m leisure park, with the Castlegate and former Swallow Hotel to be demolished to make way for an urban park three times the size of Trafalgar Square.
Most difficult year yet

Council and education Chiefs have praised the efforts of staff and students in Hartlepool in dealing with the “real struggle” of Covid.

The Children’s Services Committee has heard how schools in the town faced possibly their most “difficult year” due to the impact of the pandemic.

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