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East Midlands residents help UK COVID-19 research pass one million participants

East Midlands residents help UK COVID-19 research pass one million participants

More than one million participants (1,075,000) have now taken part in COVID-19 research across the UK, the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) and NHS can proudly announce.

Local people across the East Midlands region have played an important role in reaching this remarkable milestone, with over 53,500 participants taking part in 37 nationally-prioritised COVID-19 studies supported by NIHR Clinical Research Network (CRN) East Midlands. 

Since the onset of the pandemic, the NIHR has supported more than 180 studies into COVID-19 right across the country. Of these, more than 100 studies were also funded by the NIHR, amounting to more than £108 million given to dedicated COVID-19 research.

The milestone of one million participants has been achieved across England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales by members of the public, NHS doctors and nurses, NIHR research staff and researchers, regulators, life science companies, research funders and policy makers. NHS hospitals and GP practices in every county across the East Midlands have supported and delivered this vital research by helping their patients to take part.

Their efforts have enabled world-leading research into therapeutics such as dexamethasone and tocilizumab, delivery of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine, and more. Ground-breaking platform studies such as RECOVERY, PRINCIPLE and REMAP-CAP have all made a significant contribution to the global understanding of COVID-19.

These discoveries have significantly improved outcomes for people who get the virus, especially those most at risk of becoming severely unwell and hospitalised. Without such significant support from the public, this vital research would not have been possible.

To coincide with the announcement of one million participants, the NIHR and NHS have jointly launching the #ResearchVsCovid ‘thank you’ campaign to celebrate the efforts of participants, researchers and healthcare professionals for their involvement in COVID-19 research. Local people are encouraged to join in with their own thank yous to anyone they know who has been involved in COVID research in some way.

Professor David Rowbotham, Clinical Director, NIHR CRN East Midlands said:

“We are proud that our region has played such an important role as part of the astonishing research response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Members of the public across our region have shown a determination to support research for which we are all grateful. 

“I also want to pay tribute to NHS staff whose hard work has enabled the delivery of these research studies, leading to the discovery of drugs and vaccines to help up tackle COVID-19. During an incredibly challenging year, everyone involved in COVID-19 research across our region has played a part in the progress that we have made together.”

Professor Chris Whitty, Chief Medical Officer for England and co-lead for the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), said:

“Reaching 1million participants in COVID-19 research shows the impressive selflessness of people across the UK who have volunteered to take part. This research has led to vaccines, better treatments and improved care. 

“A huge thank you to everyone who has taken part in, led or enabled the research.”

NHS chief executive Sir Simon Stevens said: 

“During the darkness of this pandemic, NHS clinical researchers, UK scientists and one million volunteer patients have together helped illuminate a more hopeful path for humanity. 

“Thanks to their remarkable and selfless work, they have made unique and decisive contributions to therapies and vaccines for our shared global fight against Covid-19. It is amazing to consider that more than one million people in this country who have selflessly volunteered to participate in our research will themselves help save over a million lives worldwide."