New MS Trust Funding Will Help Improve Patient Support During Pandemic

New MS Trust Funding Will Help Improve Patient Support During Pandemic
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The U.K.’s MS Trust has been awarded £50,000 (about $65,800) from the Coronavirus Community Support Fund — distributed by The National Lottery Community Fund — to further its “Supporting the MS community during Covid-19” project.

Expected to run for six months, the project aims to improve multiple sclerosis (MS) patients’ access to information about their disease and about best practices during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This funding from the Coronavirus Community Support Fund will ensure we can continue to deliver vital support such as our Enquiry Service which we know make a real difference to people living with MS,” David Martin, CEO of the MS Trust, said in a press release.

The Enquiry Service aims to help people access truthful and useful information related to MS. According to the Trust, patients and their caregivers, and other advocates, have been contacting the service in record numbers since the start of the pandemic.

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and especially the related lockdowns, have had a dramatic impact on life for people around the world. But some may be disproportionately impacted: people with MS, for example, may be at increased risk of serious complications if they become infected with SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19). The pandemic also has complicated many aspects of accessing medical care.

“The Covid-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on the whole MS community, with delays in specialist healthcare services and treatments, not to mention the isolation and loneliness of life in lockdown. Like many charities, the MS Trust has been impacted at a time when demand for our services has never been higher,” Martin said.

In addition to people seeking information about symptoms and treatment options, the Enquiry Service has received many inquiries from people with MS who are struggling to access relevant services, are unsure how best to follow government-issued health guidelines, and are concerned about going to work in the midst of a pandemic.

The new funding will, in part, support the Enquiry Service. The funds will enable changes to the Service that make it easier for people to contact it, as well as allowing the Service to provide more evidence-based information on MS and COVID-19.

The funding also will be used to restart the Trust’s community involvement program, which has been on hold for several months. The MS Trust is planning to work closely with people in the MS community to help inform the services it offers. Plans also are underway to make it easier to volunteer with the Trust.

“MS doesn’t stop, and neither do we,” Martin said.

Marisa holds an MS in Cellular and Molecular Pathology from the University of Pittsburgh, where she studied novel genetic drivers of ovarian cancer. She specializes in cancer biology, immunology, and genetics. Marisa began working with BioNews in 2018, and has written about science and health for SelfHacked and the Genetics Society of America. She also writes/composes musicals and coaches the University of Pittsburgh fencing club.
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Inês holds a PhD in Biomedical Sciences from the University of Lisbon, Portugal, where she specialized in blood vessel biology, blood stem cells, and cancer. Before that, she studied Cell and Molecular Biology at Universidade Nova de Lisboa and worked as a research fellow at Faculdade de Ciências e Tecnologias and Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciência. Inês currently works as a Managing Science Editor, striving to deliver the latest scientific advances to patient communities in a clear and accurate manner.
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Marisa holds an MS in Cellular and Molecular Pathology from the University of Pittsburgh, where she studied novel genetic drivers of ovarian cancer. She specializes in cancer biology, immunology, and genetics. Marisa began working with BioNews in 2018, and has written about science and health for SelfHacked and the Genetics Society of America. She also writes/composes musicals and coaches the University of Pittsburgh fencing club.
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