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Research Support Team in Leicestershire helps to deliver COVID-19 research

Research Support Team in Leicestershire helps to deliver COVID-19 research

The NIHR CRN East Midlands Research Support Team (RST) is working with our partners across the region to deliver urgent research studies into COVID-19. Research forms a key part of the Government’s response to COVID-19, and a wide range of studies have been launched to investigate different treatments and to explore the development of a vaccine.

“We’re currently working on two COVID-19 studies,” explains Carla Christie, RST Hub Lead for Leicestershire. “As soon as our local Trust (Universal Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust) began delivering the COVID-studies, we had a conversation about the different ways we could support using our skills and resources to work effectively together.”

The RST works in partnership with organisations across the East Midlands to deliver research, including where gaps in resources or capacity are affecting research. Members of the Leicestershire RST are now working on the ISARIC and RECOVERY studies, and their involvement has helped to recruit more people to take part in this crucial research.

All four members of the Leicestershire RST are now embedded in the delivery of these two studies. Support has included developing ways to randomise and track patients, managing and uploading data, training staff, receiving consent from participants and taking samples of blood to be analysed. Due to the nature of these studies the importance of safe and efficient usage of PPE has been crucial to the welfare of the RST team and patients. 

“It’s fantastic to be part of the team delivering research to help us find out more about COVID-19,” Carla says. “Working together in response to the pandemic has brought us all closer together, and we are all so exceptionally pleased to be involved in research that could have such an impact on people’s lives. These two studies will help us to learn more about the impact of COVID-19 on patients, and to explore the effectiveness of different treatments, and ultimately save more lives”

As well as the research staff working hard to learn more about COVID-19, Carla is keen to highlight the enthusiasm of participants. “It’s heartwarming to see how receptive people are to taking part in research, and I hope this continues once this public health crisis is over” she says.

“Even though many participants have been through incredibly traumatic experiences, they are determined to take part in research to help us learn more about this disease. People are very aware of the important role that research has in seeing us through this pandemic, and want to do anything they can to make a difference and help us tackle COVID-19.”

The RST is very proud to continue its involvement into COVID-19 research studies across the East Midlands, playing a key role in our response to the pandemic.

Find out more about the NIHR response to COVID-19.