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Greater Manchester 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 the Greater Manchester region have played an important role in reaching this remarkable milestone, with more than 30,600 participants taking part in over 40 nationally-prioritised COVID-19 studies supported by NIHR Clinical Research Network Greater Manchester. 

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 Greater Manchester, East Cheshire and East Lancashire, all of the acute NHS hospital trusts 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, which have proven to help the sickest patients get better. They have also been part of studies to identify COVID-19 vaccines, such as the Novavax vaccine trial which over 1,240 Greater Manchester people have been part of. 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.

Thanking our local research and NHS heroes

To coincide with the announcement of one million participants, the NIHR and NHS are jointly running 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 you messages to anyone they know who has been involved in COVID research in some way.

Sarah Fallon, Chief Operating Officer of NIHR CRN Greater Manchester, said: “As soon as the potential impact of the COVID-19 global public health emergency was realised, the NIHR acted quickly to help set up and carry out a range of urgent research studies into the disease. 

“Ever since, our local NHS trusts and other health and social care providers have been working hard to ensure as many patients as possible, right across Greater Manchester, have had the opportunity to take part in the latest research studies. 

“A tremendous amount of progress has been made in the past 12 months which owes so much to the dedication of countless NHS staff members and the thousands of participants who have volunteered for trials.”

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.”

COVID-19 research continues - you can be part of it

Excellent progress has been made, however clinical research into COVID-19 remains as important as ever. People interested in being part of COVID vaccine studies are encouraged to join the NHS COVID-19 vaccine research registry as research continues to find vaccines for all. 

People interested in hearing about other research participation opportunities are encouraged to sign-up with the Greater Manchester NHS service Research for the Future.