Rapid Research Response Team (R3T)
Following a call by President Tony Chan for KAUST PIs to contribute through their research capabilities to alleviate the COVID-19 pandemic.
The R3T efforts were coordinated by Donal Bradley, KAUST vice president for research, and Pierre Magistretti, at the time KAUST dean of the Biological and Environmental Science and Engineering division and Director of the KAUST Smart-Health Initiative.
The focus of R3T is to collaborate with and strongly support the Kingdom's healthcare stakeholders to help combat the spread of COVID-19.
Efforts are focusing on the development of rapid diagnostic platforms, genomic analysis of the virus and bioinformatic tools to help track the spread and evolution of the disease. These efforts are based on research projects and competencies established over the years at KAUST. They are also part of the Smart Health Initiative recently established at KAUST to implement joint research projects with medical centers in the Kingdom.
R3T's group of faculty has been in close contact with the Saudi Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Ministry of Health (MoH) to coordinate efforts that will synergize to ensure fast and reliable diagnostic tests, as the demand in the Kingdom and internationally for the tests will increase. Initial efforts are aimed at optimizing existing tests to decrease the amount of reagents used without compromising reliability.