The Stroke Association has warned that its research faces a long-term threat due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Almost three quarters, 74%, of stroke research projects funded by the Stroke Association have been suspended, with the charity anticipating a shortfall of £1.5m in its funding programme this year.
Last year the charity invested more than £2m into stroke prevention, treatment and rehabilitation.
Dr Rubina Ahmed, research director at the Stroke Association, said that the charity's research has been at the centre of major breakthroughs that have saved lives and sparked innovation, “but a lack of funding for research is now a ticking-time bomb”.
She added: “If we don’t act now the coronavirus pandemic could set back stroke research for years to come. The research community will struggle to get projects back up and running, but it’s vital for every stroke survivor and their loved ones that we do.”
A survey from the charity has revealed that two-thirds of researchers report needing to make changes to their studies for their projects to continue.
Nearly one-fifth of research projects have also had team members redeployed to front line work NHS working, for example as neurologists, physiotherapists and occupational therapists.
Ahmed added: “Stroke continues to strike every five minutes and as risk of stroke increases with age, it remains one of the greatest health challenges in our society. People can rebuild their lives after stroke but there is still much we don’t know. Research is crucial to find out why people are struggling, and new ways to overcome the challenges that millions of people affected by stroke face every day.
“The effects of the coronavirus pandemic will be felt by stroke survivors and researchers for years to come. If you can, please help raise vital funds so that we can find new ways to help prevent and treat stroke and help more stroke survivors to rebuild their lives.”
Editor's note: 14 July 2020
The headline of this article has been changed from 'Stroke Association suspends three-quarters of research projects due to Covid-19' to 'Three-quarters of Stroke Association funded research projects suspended due to Covid-19' because the Stroke Association didn’t directly suspend projects itself.