More than 600,000 UK residents take part in Covid treatment research

A total of 637,379 participants from across the UK have now taken part in public health research into the effects of, and treatment for Covid-19 in just over eight months.

Saturday, 5th December 2020, 11:45 am

The total number of British people involved in the research has soared from 100,000 in June.

Recruiting participants has led to the development of life saving treatments for Covid-19 hospitalised patients, including the recently announced findings that arthritis drug tocilizumab can be effective in treating the sickest Covid-19 patients.

Tens of thousands of people have already taken part in vaccine trials across the UK through these phase 3 trials.

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Health Secretary, Matt Hancock said: “I want to thank every single person – from staff members to participants - who have taken part in this research. Everyone’s involvement has provided a vital link in the chain to help us better understand this virus and I am confident we will find a resolution through the ingenuity of science.

“The scale at which research into treatments for Covid-19 has taken place in the UK is unparalleled, and the determination for the country to come together to beat this virus is extraordinary.

“We understand this virus infinitely more than at the start of this pandemic and each of us must continue to look at what role we can take. By coming together and using our scientific prowess, we will prevail.”

Since March, 73 urgent public health studies into Covid-19 have been set up to investigate a range of potential treatments, vaccines and observational studies to learn more about the disease, as well as research into new diagnostic technology.

NHS hospitals have played a vital role in delivering studies at pace and scale, enabling hospitalised patients to benefit from the latest Covid-19 treatments, in addition to helping tens of thousands of people gain early access to vaccine candidates through trials running across the country.

Chief Medical Officer for England and co-lead of the National Institute for Health Research, Professor Chris Whitty said: “The willingness of the UK public to participate in Covid-19 research has been inspiring. Science is the only way out of this pandemic, it will find new ways to prevent and treat the virus and this will allow us to gradually return to normal life. This science cannot happen without those who volunteer to take part in research.

“The National Institute for Health Research, as part of the wider UK research infrastructure, has been key to the UK’s success in delivering research with actionable findings, which have had an impact on the treatment of Covid-19 patients in the UK and around the world.

Dr William van’t Hoff, Chief Executive of the NIHR Clinical Research Network, which has managed these studies for the Department of Health and Social Care said: “Building on the fantastic progress we have made so far, coupled with the early positive results from the vaccine trials, it is vital that people continue to take part in the wide range of research the NIHR is supporting. We need more effective treatments, vaccines and better diagnostic tests to help not only people affected by this, but critically, to also help the NHS manage this devastating infection. For that, we still need many thousands more participants to continue to volunteer for these vital studies. I encourage people to do this by visiting the Be Part of Research website or signing up to the NHS Covid vaccine register."