Supporting COVID-19 research as a healthy participant
None of the vital COVID-19 research taking place in Cambridge would be possible without people willing to take part, and we would like to thank all of those who have offered to participate and those who are currently enrolled in our studies.
There are several ways that you can support essential COVID-19 research as a healthy volunteer or as someone who has experienced mild symptoms at home. We will continue to update this page with further opportunities as and when they arise.
Joining the NIHR BioResource
The NIHR BioResource is made up of volunteers, with and without health conditions, who are willing to take part in health research studies. Volunteers donate a biological sample (blood, but sometimes saliva), complete a health and lifestyle questionnaire, provide researchers with access to their healthcare records (more information on how your data is kept safe can be found here) and consent to be contacted about taking part in research. Data and or samples provided upon joining may then be used by approved researchers, and volunteers may be contacted about taking part in further research if their genetic and or phenotypic (health/lifestyle/physical) characteristics match the study requirements.
The NIHR COVID-19 BioResource was rapidly established in April 2020 in response to the pandemic to recruit patients hospitalised with COVID-19 and those asymptomatic or experiencing mild symptoms. This recruitment drive continued until mid-2022. However, the NIHR BioResource is always recruiting members of the general population, with or without health conditions, to support research into COVID-19 and many other common and rare diseases.
Coronavirus vaccine research
Vaccines are the most effective way to prevent infections like coronavirus (COVID-19). Researchers need people to take part in their studies so they can find out which possible new vaccine works best.
The NHS COVID-19 vaccine registry is open for anyone who would like to participate in future COVID-19 vaccine trials. Consenting to the registry does not mean you are signing up to a specific trial, but it allows you to be contacted when a suitable vaccine trial is available to join. Register your interest.
GenOMICC study on recovered COVID-19 patients
This study aims to find out whether there are genetic factors that cause some people to experience severe symptoms with COVID-19, while others experience milder symptoms. Genomics England is working with the GenOMICC consortium and the NHS to read the entire genomes (all of the DNA of a person) of up to 20,000 people who have had severe COVID-19 – requiring intensive care – and 15,000 people who had mild symptoms. If you have had COVID-19, you can register your interest in taking part in this study here.
Getting involved in COVID-19 research as a public contributor
Research has never been more important than during the current COVID-19 pandemic, and the public have an important role to play in helping our research teams understand what is important to you in COVID-19 research. By drawing on the experiences, priorities and concerns of the public, we can make sure that we are focusing on COVID-19 research that is relevant, likely to produce outcomes important to patients and that is undertaken in a way that the public are comfortable with. You can get involved in COVID-19 research taking place in Cambridge by joining the Cambridge University Hospitals Patient and Public Involvement Panel.
The panel is a group of around 60 members of the public from in and around Cambridge, who are interested in getting involved in research (you can find out more about research involvement here) and who provide feedback on research taking place on the Cambridge Biomedical Campus. Panel membership is open to anyone from in and around Cambridgeshire who is not actively employed in research or the media. No previous experience or knowledge of healthcare or research is expected or required. CUH PPI panel members receive potential COVID-19 research projects to comment on and provide their feedback via email to our PPI team. Their feedback is combined anonymously with other contributors as a report for the researchers. If you would like more information on getting involved in research in Cambridge, please email our Patient and Public Involvement Lead, Dr Amanda Stranks.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.