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Researchers on the front line in fight against Covid-19

research team

The work undertaken by the research team at County Durham & Darlington NHS Foundation Trust, in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, has been recognised with an award by the regional research network.

research team

Around 1,000 patients admitted to Darlington Memorial Hospital and University Hospital of North Durham with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 have been recruited onto COVID-19 trials, contributing to the national and international search for treatments. 

James Limb, Director of Research and Innovation, said, "Our research nurses and other members of our teams worked with those caring for patients with COVID-19 across our sites, ensuring patients were asked to participate when it was appropriate, ensuring they had all the information they needed and making participation as easy and straightforward as possible.

"We continue to recruit patients to the RECOVERY trial, the huge national trial which has identified the only drug so far known to improve survival in hospitalised patients - dexamethasone. The trial continues to investigate three possible treatments, including using antibodies from patients who have recovered from COVID-19.

"On top of RECOVERY, we're also part of the ISARIC-CCP trial of all COVID-positive patients admitted to hospital, CA-COVID, which is looking into the common problem of blood clots which we see in the disease, and PAN-COVID, which looks at women who have COVID-19 symptoms in pregnancy.

"Recruiting over 1,000 patients to these trials makes the Trust a significant contributor, which has been recognised by the North East and North Cumbria Local Research Network, which has made the award.

"We're enormously grateful to our patients and their families for supporting this vital research, helping us better understand this new virus and finding ways to combat it.

"As we head into autumn, as part of the Durham Tees Valley Research Alliance - our partnership with North and South Tees NHS Foundation Trusts, we'll be busy working on antibody and vaccine trials.

"I'm proud that our hardworking research team has been recognised by our regional Research Network, we're all excited to be playing such an important part in helping to find the answers to fight this disease."

There are a number of vaccines being identified and safety-tested at the moment, but only large scale studies can give researchers the information needed about how effective they are. The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) is working with the NHS to recruit half a million people onto the NHS COVID-19 vaccine research registry by October. Those who volunteer and sign up will be contacted by researchers to take part in COVID-19 vaccine research in the coming months.

Researchers are looking for people from all backgrounds, ages and parts of the UK, with or without existing health conditions, to take part in vaccine studies. Without volunteers, we can't find out which vaccines are going to be effective. Our region currently has the lowest rate for signing up for vaccine trials.  By taking part, you could help researchers find vaccines to protect us all more quickly - which in turn could help the NHS and save lives. To find out more, or register, go to the following website:



Published 2nd Sept 2020

'Care received was fantastic and I was very well looked after and very impressed.'

Patient, Day Surgery, Darlington Memorial Hospital