Medical charities take a COVID-19 hit
Cancer Research UK has announced its intention to cut funding grants as a result of the uncertainty caused by the current coronavirus situation. In the statement the charity mentioned that they are anticipating a drop of 20-25 percent in funding income, which is a deficit that will present an almost insuperable challenge to make up.
The reduction in funding is a direct consequence of the pandemic. The charity sector has been especially hard hit by the virus as donors simply have less to give. For Cancer Research UK the impact goes beyond this, as the COVID-19 pandemic has already had a negative impact on research labs – with a high proportion of those working on cancer research being redeployed to deal with the deteriorating clinical situation.. Iain Foulkes, Professor Karen Vousden and Professor Charles Swanton explained on behalf of the charity: ‘Universities have closed, laboratories have wound down their activities, experiments have stopped,’ and added that ‘most of our clinical academics, including our clinical research fellows, have been called to the frontline in hospitals all over the country’.
Many other charities, including Prostate Cancer UK and The Urology Foundation (TUF), are following suit. The £750 million recently allocated by the Chancellor to support the charity sector may go a little way to assist; however, when one considers that the income of Cancer Research UK alone was £671.9 million in the year ending April 2019, it is clear that this governmental support will come nowhere near to covering the losses across the charity world, which is projected to lose a staggering £4 billion as donations dry up.
What is to be done, and what are the longer term implications for medical research? All suggestions welcome!