National COVID-19 studies supported by Cambridge
Alongside the excellent care our staff are delivering, we are using our tremendous research capabilities to better understand COVID-19 and its successful management, including development of innovative approaches to testing and treatment.
National studies that we are supporting in Cambridge Hospitals include: PRIEST (Pandemic Respiratory Infection Emergency System Triage) to optimise the triage of people using the emergency care system; RECOVERY (Randomised Evaluation of COvid-19 thERapY), a trial of potential therapies that can be adapted to introduce new treatment arms as potential therapies emerge; and REMAP-CAP (Randomised, Embedded, Multifactorial, Adaptive Platform trial), a trial designed to evaluate a number of treatment options simultaneously and efficiently in critically ill patients.
We have also developed a new research resource in the NIHR COVID-19 BioResource, which will allow all patients admitted to Cambridge hospitals to participate in research studies by providing biological samples and health information. We have recruited over 100 BioResource participants, and the first samples have already been processed for analysis. The NIHR COVID-19 BioResource will be instrumental in understanding why the virus affects people in such different ways and identifying new treatments.
Our SAMBA (simple amplification-based assay) point of care test is already helping us rapidly find out whether patients have COVID-19 and ensure that they receive the right treatment in the right ward of the hospital.
We would like to thank all of the clinical and research staff who have made these remarkable achievements possible in such a short period of time, as well as all of the patients who have participated in our studies and made such a valuable contribution to improving care and treatment for COVID-19.
Page last reviewed: 26 January 2021.
DHSC statement on prioritising research studies and deploying NIHR CRN-funded staff
The Department of Health & Social Care (DHSC) has provided guidance relating to the prioritisation of research studies and deployment of NIHR CRN-funded staff in the current situation. Please find their statement below.
We recognise that at the current time those working in many NHS sites are under huge pressure as the number of COVID-19 cases and admissions to hospitals continue to rise and frontline clinical staff are unable to work due to sickness.
While we have a small number of proven treatments and vaccines for COVID-19, more are needed to reduce transmission, reduce the number of patients that require hospitalisation and to improve outcomes for those that do.
It is therefore critical that at this challenging time we continue to recruit participants to our urgent public health (UPH) studies. The current levels of prioritisation for research studies, set out within the Restart Framework, still apply as follows:
- Level 1a (Top Priority) – COVID-19 UPH vaccine and prophylactic studies (as prioritised by the Vaccines Task Force and agreed by Jonathan Van-Tam, deputy CMO) and platform therapeutics trials (currently RECOVERY/RECOVERY +; PRINCIPLE; REMAP CAP)
- Level 1b – Other COVID-19 UPH studies
- Level 2 – Studies where the research protocol includes an urgent treatment or intervention without which patients could come to harm. These might be studies that provide access to potentially life preserving or life-extending treatment not otherwise available to the patient
- Level 3 – All other studies (including COVID-19 studies not in Level 1a or 1b)
NIHR guidance for a second wave of covid 19 activity still applies and, as outlined, states that the deployment of staff funded through an NIHR Infrastructure award or funded by the NIHR Clinical Research Network (CRN) to front-line duties should only occur in exceptional circumstances.
The deployment of clinical academic staff should be undertaken within the guidelines issued by a working group convened by the UK Clinical Academic Training Forum and the Conference of Postgraduate Medical Deans of the UK.
Where NHS Trusts consider they need to redeploy staff to support the frontline this should only be done to support clinical activity during the emergency phase of the pandemic and we would expect them to return to their R&D roles as soon as possible, once the pressures on the system reduce.
As indicated by the Restart Framework, at the current time, we need to continue prioritise our support for the most urgent COVID-19 research as part of the response to tackle the pandemic.
At the same time we need to ensure we continue to try and maintain support to deliver non-COVID studies currently open on the portfolio, particularly those within Level 2. A system-wide Recovery, Resilience and Growth programme has been established which brings together the key partners across the clinical research ecosystem to ensure the UK is well-positioned to take a coordinated national approach to achieving the recovery of the UK’s clinical research delivery and restore a full, diverse and active research portfolio as soon as practicable.
This list will be updated when new studies open to patients on site; please visit here for recruiting studies led by CUH.
A list of the national studies already prioritised and approved by NIHR can be found here.
Identifying potential treatments for COVID-19. This national trial is recruiting adult patients with confirmed COVID-19. Treatments currently tested in the trial include anti-retrovirals, hydroxychloroquine or steroids, which are compared with standard ‘supportive care’. However, the trial has an ‘adaptive design’ which means that treatments can be removed if they are shown to be ineffective, or added as other promising treatments emerge. Study led locally by Dr Martin Knolle.
Testing the accuracy of triage methods in the emergency room to identify patients in most urgent need of treatment. Led by Dr Adrian Boyle and Susie Hardwick, this study will use de-identified patient data from the early phases of the pandemic to assess the accuracy of current triage methods for patients presenting with respiratory symptoms, and potentially develop improved systems for use later in the pandemic.
This international study aims to generate evidence to reduce mortality, admission to intensive and morbidity in severely ill patients with COVID-19 infection. The trial is similar to RECOVERY, but is based in intensive care. It will test multiple treatments at the same time (antivirals, immune modulation drugs and corticosteroids) and more treatments will be added as new evidence emerges. If a treatment is beneficial, more patients will be treated with that drug within the trial, improving outcomes and reducing ICU stays. This study is led locally by Dr Charlotte Summers.
This study aims to identify genes that cause some people to be more susceptible to specific infections such as COVID-19. Identifying genes that cause some people to have greater risk will enable better use of existing treatments and the design of new treatments. DNA and cells from patients participating in this study will be compared with samples from healthy people to help identify the genes involved. This study is led locally by Dr Charlotte Summers.
This study is designed for the rapid, coordinated clinical investigation of patients with confirmed novel coronavirus infection. This UK-wide consortium aims to use clinical data to answer urgent questions about COVID-19 quickly and transparently.
CERA (COVID-19 Emergency Response Assessment): Led by the University of Bristol, this study aims to understand the effects on the psychological health of doctors working in emergency care settings across the UK during the COVID-19 outbreak. Participating doctors will complete questionnaires on their phones at the beginning (acceleration), middle (peak) and near the end (deceleration) of the epidemic wave to understand how staff are coping and any changes that occur as the pandemic progresses. This will help researchers understand the physical and psychological impact on doctors in both the short and long term, where and how support can best be delivered and support preparedness for future outbreaks.
Coronavirus infection in immunosuppressed children: This study will allow families of immunosuppressed children and young people to self-record their experiences of Coronavirus (COVID-19) and other viral respiratory illnesses during the COVID-19 pandemic. Participating parents and children will be provided with online information and asked to fill in weekly questionnaires about their experiences. Information collected will include medications they take that affect their immune system, symptoms they have, whether they have contact with health care providers, test results and the impact of infection on daily activities.
UKOSS: Pandemic Influenza in Pregnancy. This NIHR supported study is a national study of women hospitalised with confirmed COVID-19 in pregnancy. The study will use the UK Obstetric Surveillance System (UKOSS) to collect information about all pregnant women admitted to hospital who are confirmed to have the virus infection to better understand how common the infection is in pregnant women, what treatment they were given and the outcomes of COVID-19 in pregnancy. The data will be used to identify factors associated with better outcomes for women and their babies in COVID-19 infection, to inform ongoing guidance for women and maternity staff in response to the pandemic. UKOSS is led by Professor Marian Knight, from the National Perinatal Epidemiology Unit, University of Oxford.
COVID-19 Phase II/III Vaccine Study (COV002) CUH are working with Cambridge and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust (CPFT) and the Royal Papworth Hospital on a UK clinical trial led by the University of Oxford, which aims to trial a candidate vaccine called ChAdOx1 nCoV-19. This trial is recruiting healthcare staff from participating hospitals who are working in clinical or patient-facing areas, are over 18 years old and are in good health. Further information for interested staff can be found here or by email.
COVID-19 Research for healthy volunteers and those with mild symptoms
The studies listed above are all recruiting patients who are hospitalised with suspected or confirmed COVID-19. If you have experienced mild COVID-19 symptoms or have not had the infection, there are still a variety of ways that you can support essential COVID-19 research. You can find out more about those opportunities here.
More information about COVID-19 research in Cambridge
Researchers from across Cambridge are collaborating closely to understand COVID-19 better and identify successful diagnostics and treatments. The links below highlight how we are working with our partners on the Biomedical Campus and throughout Cambridge on these essential studies:
- COVID-19 research studies from the University of Cambridge Department of Public Health and Primary Care
- Cambridge Fights COVID website outlining the collaborative COVID-19 effort across the Cambridge Biomedical Campus
- COVID-19 related research from the University of Cambridge
Information for Research Teams
If you are a researcher in or around Cambridge who is looking for healthy volunteers for COVID-19 research or would like to involve our PPI panel in your research, please get in touch with the CUH R&D PPI and Communications team at email@example.com.
In order to feature in this list, the study needs to be registered through CUH R&D and be recruiting patients from in and around Cambridge. Cambridge based researchers are welcome to involve the CUH PPI panel at any stage of their research project or proposal.