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The Stroke Association launched a new funding call for urgent research into the causal links between coronavirus-19 (COVID-19) and stroke. The new research could improve our understanding of whether COVID-19 causes stroke and how. It could also help us find out who may be at greater risk of stroke caused by COVID-19, and what treatments may help prevent stroke in COVID-19 patients.  

Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, there have been reports of patients with the disease also experiencing neurological problems, including stroke. The Stroke Association has continued to monitor the evidence, and work with professionals in stroke care and stroke researchers in the UK to understand links between COVID-19 and stroke.  

Right now, we don’t know enough about why COVID-19 may increase the risk of stroke, for whom, and how we could stop COVID-19 patients having a stroke. The new research funding call is hoping to change this.   

Researchers are invited to apply until Monday 19 October for awards of up to £60,000, lasting for up to 12 months. The awards will be announced in December.

Annabel sitting on an armchair

Annabel, whose partner is a stroke survivor said: “I find it alarming that there are reports that COVID-19 can cause a stroke. It leaves me uncertain as to how COVID-19 may affect my partner’s risk of stroke and their stroke recovery.  

This research can help to understand links between stroke and COVID-19 so I could assess the situation for my partner, and even myself, more realistically.” 

Dr Rubina Ahmed, Research Director at the Stroke Association said: “It’s understandable that people are worried about reports that COVID-19 may increase the risk of stroke. Back in March, many stroke survivors will have also received letters to shield. But as the situation progresses, it may become harder for people to know what risk COVID-19 may pose to their health.  

We’re pleased to be able to launch this funding call for new research that can fill vital gaps in our knowledge on the novel coronavirus and stroke. 

Like many other organisations, we’ve quickly adapted to changes caused by the pandemic. Unfortunately, our charity’s income has fallen and we’ve had to reduce our budget for research overall. But this funding for research into COVID-19 and stroke is necessary to support stroke professionals and people affected by stroke who are concerned by the risk that the virus may pose.” 

If you’re a researcher interested in applying for funding, please find application guidance and conditions of the award on our COVID-19 and stroke research grant webpage.