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More than 1,500 people recruited to COVID-19 research projects

To mark International Clinical Trials Day, Queen Mary University of London and Barts Health NHS Trust have released a range of new resources to encourage people to get involved in COVID-19 research projects.

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NIHR's Be Part of Research campaign
NIHR's Be Part of Research campaign

They have also announced that nearly 1,600 participants, including patients and healthcare workers, have so far been recruited to 28 separate COVID-19 studies, including at the NHS Nightingale London Hospital.

The research teams began a new programme of COVID-19 research last month across Barts Health hospitals. COVID-19 patients are being recruited into national priority clinical trials to understand why some people become severely affected by the disease, and to investigate interventions to see if they can help more patients survive. By gathering more information about the disease it may be possible to find ways of diagnosing it faster, and establish treatments.

To help with recruitment, teams led by Dr Manish Saxena developed a new framework to support recruitment of patients to more than one COVID-19 research study. This model is designed to be a one-step approach to recruiting the patient, rather than a series of people asking them about different studies. The Health Research Authority is set to roll out this document set for use across England and Wales.

The new combined consenting process is now being piloted on the e-consenting platform at Barts Health and can be used for remote consent and showing extra material such as video explanations of trials.

The research team have produced two short films to support the enrolment of patients into COVID-19 studies. The films clearly explain what is involved in interventional and observational clinical trials and have been recorded in several languages. These have also been made available on the National Institute of Health Research’s Be Part of Research website, with the aim of increasing applicant and participant numbers.

Dr David Collier from Queen Mary University of London, who is leading the clinical research training, said: “This has been an incredible team effort across Queen Mary and Barts Health, and more joined up than we’ve ever managed before. We’ve also been amazed at the level of patient involvement in our research programme- from human rights lawyers, to teachers, film directors and academics and business people and we’re grateful to our wonderfully diverse community of patients and staff.”

Professor Chloe Orkin, Clinical Research lead for COVID 19 said: “It is only through research that we will move beyond the pandemic. Barts Health has made a very significant contribution to research into treatment and genetics of COVID-19”. 

Imogen Skene, COVID-19 research team leader at the Royal London Hospital said: “Being involved in COVID-19 research makes me feel proud to be able to contribute to finding out more about this disease, its potential treatments and hopefully a cure.”

For members of the public interested in learning more about COVID-19 research taking place and to take part in trials, please go to the Trials Connect patient group website or the information page on the Barts Health website.

Research staff should visit the Joint Research Management Office website, for advice and updates on conducting research during the COVID-19 outbreak.

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