9TH JULY, 2020

What Has R&D Taught Us About COVID-19?

Scientists are constantly learning more thanks to R&D

Coronavirus COVID-19 is brand new. It is primarily a health and humanitarian crisis, not to mention a political and economic one. But one good thing to come out of it is the meteoric rise of research and development (R&D) it has left in its wake. Whether it be for a vaccine or effective treatment, how to stay connected with loved ones or how to produce massive amounts of PPE quickly, innovation over recent months has soared.

However, we’re now quite a way down the line, and the ‘new normal’ is well and truly settling in. So what have innovative scientific projects carried out in both the UK and across the world actually taught us about COVID-19? In this slightly unnerving new existence, it’s worth recognising the importance of the work scientists and technologists have already done to understand the virus better, and make our lives that bit easier. There’s plenty of uncertainty, but here we’ve looked at five key things we do know about the virus, thanks to R&D.

1) COVID-19 is far more likely than other viruses to trigger a lethal cytokine storm

The data seems to indicate that the majority of COVID-19 infections are either mild or asymptomatic. However, scientists have found that for some people - particularly those of black or ethnic minority origins or those over 70 - the illness can be deadly. Things get most serious when the virus moves deeper into the lungs, kicking a patient’s immune system into overdrive and causing severe inflammation. Yet more immune cells pour in, making the inflammation even worse. This is known as a potentially fatal cytokine storm.

R&D work is ongoing to understand more about these cytokine storms and what effective treatments can be administered quickly to prevent them. However, due to the coronavirus pandemic a lot has already been learned, such as how best to position a patient showing lung damage and what the signs are to look out for.

2) A vaccine is likely, thanks to R&D

The most intensive scientific research and development right across the globe has been in finding a vaccine for Covid-19. In April, scientific journal Nature revealed that 78 vaccine projects had been discovered around the world, with an additional 37 being developed. But R&D not only lies in the identification of a viable vaccine, but in testing and trialling, scaling up and distribution. A huge amount has already been achieved, with more human tests planned for later this year.

3) COVID-19 spreads more easily than SARS

R&D has lead scientists to discover that this new coronavirus is present in high numbers in a person’s nose and mouth, which is what makes it so easy to transmit. Coughing, talking and shouting also sprays tiny droplets of mucus and saliva into the air, again leading to the infection of people in the immediate vicinity.

4)  Soap physically breaks the virus down

Soap and detergents dissolve oils and fat (think washing up after a Sunday lunch). These surfactants break down the fatty outside layer of the COVID-19 virus, leaving it at the mercy of our antibodies. Once this layer is damaged, the virus also finds it impossible to replicate itself. This is why handwashing is so important, in making the virus inert. 

Has your company undergone a piece of scientific or technological research recently in the fight against COVID-19?

Then get in touch to determine what your R&D tax credit claim could be.

What are R&D Tax Credits?

R&D Tax Credits are a tax relief offered to companies by the government to incentivise research and development. They work either by reducing a company’s Corporation Tax bill to reflect expenditure on innovative projects, or as a cash lump sum for companies that haven’t turned a profit.

What types of businesses can claim R&D Tax Credits?

A company can be any size to claim R&D Tax Credits. The relief is generous too, with SMEs able to claim up to 33 pence in every £1 of eligible R&D expenditure. Don’t worry if you’re not sure if the scheme is right for you or what to do next; the Tax Cloud will guide you through a fully bespoke claim, and the R&D experts at Myriad Associates (developers of the portal) are on hand every step of the way too.

What kind of work qualifies for R&D Tax Credits?

Eligible projects and costs for R&D Tax Credits are many and varied. The main reasons why a company would claim R&D Tax Credits is because it has either created a brand new product, service or process, or appreciably upgraded an existing one. As long as a scientific or technological advancement has been made in the field the business operates in, then a claim is likely. However, it’s often very difficult to recognise what projects and costs are eligible, which is why it’s so important to use the Tax Cloud rather than going it alone.

You can find out more about the scheme on the following R&D Tax Credits page.

Try out the Tax Cloud portal today

We’ve worked with companies from all over the UK and Ireland across a vast range of industries who successfully claimed R&D Tax Credits. So why not join them?

Simply sign up to the Tax Cloud portal for businesses and begin the process of putting together your claim. You could well end up thousands of pounds better off and with our no win no fee service. You've got nothing to lose.

Need to get in touch? Feel free to contact us here.

Barrie Dowsett, ACMA, GCMA
Author Barrie Dowsett, ACMA, GCMA CEO, Tax Cloud
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Myriad are the creators of Tax Cloud, we help enterprises navigate, apply and secure tax incentives and grants. We specialise in R&D Tax Credits, Creative Tax Reliefs, Innovate UK grants, Horizon Europe grants, and R&D Capital Allowance Claims.

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Barrie Dowsett Barrie Dowsett ACMA CGMA Chief Executive Officer
Jillian Chambers Jillian Chambers Technical Analyst/Writer
Lauren Olson Lauren Olson Technical Analyst Manager
Rabia Mohammad Rabia Mohammad Corporate Tax Associate