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Eastern people 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 East Anglia have played an important role in reaching this remarkable milestone, with more than 32,000 participants taking part in nationally-prioritised COVID-19 studies supported by the NIHR Clinical Research Network Eastern.

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. Across the Eastern region, 16 NHS hospitals 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.

Surajit, who is one of the Norfolk residents who is taking part in a vaccine trial at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, said:

“Everybody wants to try and do their bit, don’t they? Because I have type 2 diabetes and my background is Indian I’m in a slightly higher risk category, so I couldn’t get too close to the frontline, but I really wanted to do something.

“Ultimately, we all benefit from research, so I’m glad I’ve taken part. Hopefully it will benefit mankind, and if the vaccine is approved for use it would be nice to know that I contributed.”

Dr Helen Macdonald, Chief Operating Officer for the NIHR’s Clinical Research Network in the Eastern region, highlighted the importance of research to find vaccines for COVID-19:

“We’re so grateful to Surajit and others who volunteer to take part in research, particularly such important vaccine trials. It’s only with their help, and that of our country’s extremely proficient research community, that we have been able to prove the safety and effectiveness of the COVID vaccines we already have and, hopefully, do the same for the latest ones in development.”

If you would like to help researchers test the latest vaccines to be developed for COVID-19, find out more on the NIHR’s website,