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Supporting COVID-19 research in Nottinghamshire and beyond

Supporting COVID-19 research in Nottinghamshire and beyond

The Clinical Research Network (CRN) East Midlands Research Support Team (RST) is immensely proud to be part of the national and regional NIHR  Urgent Public Health response to the COVID-19 pandemic.The current situation is unprecedented in modern times, but we are all eager to do our bit to support patients and our NHS to deliver vital research, in order to hopefully develop a vaccine and or treatments to beat this disease.

CRN EM RST Nottinghamshire Hub supported the ISARIC and RECOVERY trials at Chesterfield Royal Hospital Foundation Trust during April and May at the Covid-19 peak. Our involvement included facilitating the consent process to increase recruitment, assisting medical colleagues, and importantly assisting with the huge amount of data to be entered onto the research databases.

Our support enabled the Trust to ensure that participants were provided with the opportunity to take part in research seven days a week. Whilst it is undoubtedly a challenging situation to work in, we know that supporting vital COVID-19 research will enable us to gain invaluable experience and knowledge that will equip us to deliver similar research studies in the future.

As the Hub Lead, I am working collaboratively with the Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust Research and Innovation Team to assess and review the support that we can provide. This has been vital to alleviate pressure on divisional teams during the COVID-19 crisis. I have also been supporting the University of Nottingham Health Service with the set-up; delivery  and data handling of two studies being conducted at Cripps Health Centre: 

  • What’s the STORY? which is assessing the feasibility of establishing a national sero-epidemiological survey in England in individuals aged 0-19 for vaccine preventable diseases including SARS-COV-2 
  • COV002 vaccine study, which is enabling scientists to assess how well people of all ages can be protected from COVID-19 and whether a vaccine can generate positive immune responses against the virus

Cripps Health Centre is the only site in the East Midlands taking part in these studies, and I feel privileged to be able to contribute to ground-breaking research, especially at a time when the eyes of the world are on the research community.

Elsewhere, we continue to maintain a business as usual approach where possible, including data entry to avoid a backlog when social distancing measures are phased out and research resumes more broadly. In addition, we are working to progress other non COVID-19 workstreams to reduce any potential delays to the early stages of research once the pause of new studies is lifted.

Healthcare professionals and members of the public alike understand why research is so important during this pandemic, and it is fulfilling to know that we are part of such a broad, collective approach to tackling this disease.

Janet Tomlinson

Research Support Team Hub Lead, Nottinghamshire

CRN East Midlands