The COVID-19 pandemic will affect the running of many of our research projects during the next few months but AIMS-2-TRIALS will continue to work towards its existing goals, perhaps with a minor extension to its final end date.
Many universities have been closed and/or have requested staff to work from home. In-person research participation at some, if not all, research sites has been temporarily suspended, meaning that progress on those research projects will be slower than expected. Researchers are working on ways to address these delays once the lockdowns have been lifted.
AIMS-2-TRIALS consortium member Prof Celso Arango has written a very moving account of his experiences on the frontline in Madrid. He highlights how hospitals have been transformed as only the worst affected are admitted and many psychiatric units have been closed to make space for COVID-19 patients. Celso also discusses how services provided by his Department have changed and staffing has been increased to focus on key goals centred around supporting relatives of patients, possibly in their grieving process, and taking care of staff mental health.
During this time of global difficulty, many individuals and organisations have stepped up to help those most in need. The World Health Organisation has created a clear overview for governments to consider and protect those with disabilities and their families during the COVID-19 outbreak.
Autism-Europe and Autistica have provided information about COVID-19 for the autism community. Autism-Europe launched a survey to understand how the pandemic is affecting the European autism community and Autistica have created a coronavirus resource hub to support the autism community on topics such as mental health and uncertainty. Autistica regularly run expert webinars, which are all available on YouTube.
Thomas Bourgeron’s and Richard Delorme’s teams created a coronavirus kit to help children with autism and their families, which was covered by SpectrumNews. Furthermore, the Gregorio Marañón Hospital in Madrid and IRCCS Stella Maris are actively making adjustments to support the autism community in their regions to ensure care and standard of care is upheld.
Many of our other AIMS-2-TRIALS collaborators have provided or contributed to support for the autism community and general public on guidance in these unsure times. A full list of resources can be found below. If any resources are missing and/or your lab/institute made contributions in the fight against the coronavirus, please let us know. We will update this page as more information is provided.
Guidance for the autism community during the COVID-19 outbreak in several languages: