Following the press release on the 24th July 2020, the ABC and DMU would like to clarify that whilst the initial results are extremely exciting, the research is not yet complete and the full report will be published next week. Dr Katie Laird confirmed the research does show some promising results but firm conclusions should wait until the research is complete. The ABC were keen to issue the interim results to offer some reassurance to the climbing community but as already stated have not changed the advice to climbing centres who are planning to reopen this weekend.
At the start of the Corona Virus Crisis, the ABC (Association of British Climbing Walls) set up working groups to support climbing walls through the crisis. David and Robert Stevens from The Warehouse Climbing Wall, Gloucester approached Rich Emerson, ABC Chair as they had a relationship with a world-leading research team in De Montfort University. Rich spoke with Jeremy Wilson from The Lakeland Climbing Centre, leader of one of the ABC working group responsible for researching the science behind the virus and climbing. We needed to understand the potential impact of chalk on the virus as there were some concerns within the climbing community around how chalk on holds may act as a reservoir of the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19. Between us, we commissioned the team at De Montfort University to undertake the research, led by Dr Katie Laird (Head of the Infectious Disease Research Group), Dr Maitreyi Shivkumar (Virologist) and Dr Lucy Owen (Postdoctoral Researcher). The team admit it was novel research and it took some time to set up the test method protocols.
For further information please download the link press release below: