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James Illingworth

Hull plays major role in global research to find solutions to Covid-19

Researchers at Hull’s hospitals have been congratulated for their major contribution to the global effort to find solutions to Covid-19.

Hull University Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust has undertaken 27 Covid-19 studies since the start of the pandemic, including trials of potentially life-saving treatments, ways to ease the severity of symptoms, rehabilitation after infection and vaccination.

The trust played a major role in the global trial of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine, with one in every 45 participants recruited by the Hull team.

James Illingworth, the trust’s Research and Development Manager, said: “Over the last 11 months, healthcare organisations across the world have turned to research for answers in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic. Our trust is no exception. 

“We want to acknowledge the immense efforts of our research and non-research colleagues who have worked hand-in-hand in often challenging environments to ensure patients get access to new treatments and the best possible care.”

The trust’s Research and Development team was asked to prioritise National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Urgent Public Health research and Covid-19 trials at the start of the pandemic.

Since then, more than 2,500 participants have been recruited to trials to help find answers to how the virus works and the progression of the disease.

Trials, such as the national RECOVERY study, have also been started into potential treatments, such as Dexamethasone, and the trust was one of the first hospitals in the UK to offer Remdesivir to patients with moderate or severe cases.

The team has also been focused on longer-term research projects to examine the rehabilitation of Covid-19 patients after stays in hospital and how people recover from the virus.

Other trials include work to understand the nature and impact of the disease and Public Health England’s SIREN study, investigating antibody protection in health care staff who have already contracted Covid-19, for which our trust was one of the top recruiters.

The trust is the top recruiter in the country in the CLARITY-IBD study which is looking at the development of antibodies to Covid-19 in UK patients with Crohn’s and Colitis.

Hull researchers are currently teaming up with others across Yorkshire and Humber to tackle misinformation around the virus – and, in particular, the vaccine – to ensure people in Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) communities can make informed decisions based on the facts.

Despite the necessary focus on Covid-19, trust researchers have recently resumed studies involving non-Covid research as the NHS starts to look to services beyond the pandemic.

Details of the Research and Development work undertaken at Hull Royal Infirmary and Castle Hill Hospital will be outlined at the meeting of the Trust Board on Tuesday.

Mr Illingworth said: “Our ability to deliver the Covid-19 research agenda at pace and scale has been testament to the dedication of our staff.”

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