A LEADING stroke charity has warned research faces a long-term threat due to coronavirus.

Almost three quarters (74 per cent) of stroke research projects funded by the Stroke Association have been suspended because of the pandemic.

The charity also anticipated a shortfall of £1.5m in its funding programme this year, to resume current research and support new projects. It has warned of a 'catastrophic' knock on effect for stroke research which could delay access to new life-changing treatments which allow people to rebuild their lives after stroke.

Dr Rubina Ahmed, research director at the charity said the gap could set research back years and was a 'ticking time bomb'.

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Associate Professor Nele Demeyere at Oxford University had just started her Stroke Association-funded research to better understand long-term problems after a stroke when the Covid-19 crisis hit.

She said: “We are currently no longer able to assess these problems with stroke survivors face-to-face and unfortunately, because of the type of assessments and the group of participants we are not able to do our tests online. The stroke survivors involved in the study were really disappointed that we had to cancel the home visit appointments with them. We’re keeping in touch over the phone and some are telling us they feel lonely."

She added: "It is difficult to plan ahead as we’re uncertain when we’ll be able to visit stroke survivors in their homes to continue this crucial data collection."

To find out more visit stroke.org.uk/research or to donate go to: stroke.org.uk/donate-research.