With the backing of SAIL Databank at Swansea University’s Medical School, a new research study, called COVIDENCE UK, is looking for volunteers to help combat the pandemic, now and in the future.
This study is being carried out by a team of doctors and scientists led by Queen Mary University London. The COVIDENCE UK research study needs information from the public to help fight the coronavirus.
The study is being supported by SAIL (Secure Anonymous Information Linkage) Databank based at Swansea University Medical School. It is a world-leading, population databank, entrusted by the Welsh NHS to safely store the Welsh population’s health data, collected routinely by GPs and hospitals.
Professor Ronan Lyons of Swansea University Medical School, who is leading the research in Wales, said:
“We are delighted that people in Wales will have an opportunity to take part in this ground-breaking research. It will rapidly test whether a number of non-pharmaceutical interventions can reduce the number of people suffering from serious COVID19 infections.”
People from all parts of the UK, and from all walks of life, are being asked to volunteer for COVIDENCE UK by signing up and filling in an online questionnaire with details about their lifestyle and health. Participants must be aged 16 years or older.
Participants will then be contacted every month to check if they have developed any symptoms of coronavirus disease, and to ask some follow-up questions about general health and social circumstances.
The study aims to recruit as diverse a group of volunteers as possible, including those who have already had proven or suspected COVID-19 and those who have not. The team also want to include a mixture of people both with and without underlying conditions such as diabetes, lung disease, heart disease and high blood pressure.
The information gathered will help scientists to understand why certain people appear to be at greater risk.
Study lead, Adrian Martineau, Professor of Respiratory Infection and Immunity at Queen Mary University of London, explains:
“We know that people with certain medical conditions seem to be at increased risk of coronavirus disease. However, we don’t know why this is. Is it because people with these conditions tend to be older? Is it something to do with the underlying condition itself? Could particular medications affect the risk? Or are lifestyle factors such as smoking or different dietary patterns which tend to go along with some of these conditions important? The answers to these questions could help us to devise new strategies to reduce infection risk, while we are waiting for an effective vaccine to come along.”
The study is a collaboration between Queen Mary University of London, Swansea University (SAIL Databank and National Centre for Population Health and Wellbeing Research), Health Data Research (HDR) UK, King’s College London, The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, The University of Edinburgh, Queen’s University Belfast.
The data held within SAIL Databank will be an extremely useful resource in the study. The advanced data linkage capabilities of SAIL Databank will be used to link the survey responses to existing health information. This is crucial to unlock new discoveries about the pandemic and its broad health implications across the population.
The study aims to achieve four main goals:
- To learn more about who is most at risk of coronavirus infection in UK adults.
- To find out how quickly people recover from coronavirus infection, and whether there are any long-term complications of this illness.
- To evaluate the impact of coronavirus infection on the physical and mental well-being of the UK population.
- To establish a database of people who may be interested in taking part in future clinical trials, and to invite selected people to participate in those trials.
SAIL Databank at Swansea University is a valuable resource in tackling Covid-19. It is also providing a safe-haven for millions of data records for the ZOE Covid-19 Symptom Study app that it’s hoped will help us out of lockdown safely.
By participating in the COVIDENCE UK study, you will be contributing meaningful data that will form the foundation for scientific research and clinical trials that will help doctors and scientists tackle the immediate and long-term effects of this virus now and beyond the current outbreak.
To find out more and sign up search @CovidenceUK, #COVIDENCEUK or visit https://www.qmul.ac.uk/covidence/
By Chris Roberts, Swansea University
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SAIL Databank is one of the nine Centres of Excellence based in Population Data Science at Swansea University Medical School.