Researchers from Lancashire and South Cumbria NHS Foundation Trust are deploying their skills to assist in the national fight against coronavirus.
The research and development team is collaborating with the research team at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust to assist with vital studies that will inform a picture of the national coronavirus impact.
The researchers, based at the Lantern Centre in Preston, have placed much of their usual research activity on hold while they help carry out vital studies into the pandemic.
The team of 19 is made up of research nurses, clinical studies officers, clinical trials support officers, research assistants and research admin who usually conduct research activity on topics around mental health, dementia, diabetes, tissue viability, rheumatology and sexual health.
They have recently joined up with other researchers in the area to help support a number of studies relating to Covid-19.
One piece of work, run by Oxford University, is a national recovery trial looking into the different treatments for the virus, which is currently recruiting patients on critical care and following their recovery through to the wards.
Another study is collecting data to show the demographics of those affected, including symptoms and medical history, which will feed into a national database to give an overview of the scale of the pandemic. A third investigation is looking at the triage of coronavirus patients who are taken to accident and emergency departments.
Although they are used to making a difference with their usual workload, Lisa Wadeson, Senior Research Nurse at Lancashire and South Cumbria NHS Foundation Trust, said the team is aware of the vital roles they are playing in the crisis.
She said: “All the work we are undertaking is going to be massively important for the future of this and of any future pandemics. Not only that, we believe there’s going to be a lot more research coming out of this, especially around how it has impacted on people’s mental health.
“It’s an absolute honour and an exciting prospect to be involved in research that could potentially change the future and we’re delighted to be given the chance to contribute our skills.”
Previous work the team has carried out has included a large study on Meningitis B, working with the Oxford Vaccine Group, among college students to find out if immunising this particular age group with vaccines against meningitis B can reduce the number carrying the bacteria that is carried in the throat.
This would be important because it could mean that teenage Men B immunisation would help protect teenagers against this potentially deadly disease, alongside the currently vaccinated babies, children and older adults who are now less likely to be exposed to the bacteria, reducing it across all ages. The study has vaccinated and obtained throat swabs from more than 1,000 students at colleges across Lancashire, and follow-up visits are planned for September/October.
The team has also made a bid to be involved in trialling a new dementia drug, which, if successful, could begin in the autumn.