COVID-19 research

COVID-19 research

Get involved in COVID-19 research at Barts Health

'The UK is home to incredible scientists and researchers who are all at the forefront of their field, and all united in their aim; protecting people’s lives from coronavirus.', Sir Patrick Vallance, Chief Scientific Advisor

COVID-19 is a new illness that can affect lungs and airways. As it is a new disease we need to find out as much as we can about it, as soon as possible. Research allows us to answer questions about COVID-19. By gathering information about a disease we can find ways of diagnosing it faster and better ways of looking after and treating people with the disease.

Why do we need research into COVID-19?

At present, there is no established treatment for COVID-19. But there is some early evidence that certain licensed drugs for other diseases could help in improving outcomes in COVID-19 patients. Hence these drugs are being used to treat some of the COVID-19 patients in some of these studies (called interventional studies). Other ‘observational’ studies don’t alter treatment but collect blood samples and information about the patient to learn more about COVID-19. Such studies have no added risk, do not bring immediate benefit now, but will help doctors and scientists to better understand COVID-19.

There is a national effort to learn about the virus and how to treat it through research.

COVID-19 Vaccine trials

COVID-19 vaccine development – an opportunity to get involved

The National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) have launched a national initiative to help find effective vaccines for COVID-19.

You can find out more and get involved by signing up through a simple website link. You will only be expressing an interest in receiving information about COVID-19 vaccine studies at this stage.

You may be invited to take part in a vaccine trial at a later date. If you are, you will be given detailed information about the study and be able to ask any questions before deciding to take part (and you can say no at any time). 

View the video in full screen

What are vaccines? 

Since the arrival of COVID-19 there has been a lot of discussion about vaccines. But what exactly is a vaccine?  From birth we are all exposed to bugs and microbes that can cause illness. Our bodies are designed to recognise these bugs and use the immune system to fight off infections. 

Vaccines are a way of preventing infections by training the immune system to respond to infection without actually having an infection or getting sick.

The vaccines that are being developed for COVID-19 are using different strategies to trigger an immune response.

They do this by showing the immune system proteins or genetic material that is similar to the actual coronavirus but which does not make people ill.

Researchers look to ensure that vaccines work on as many people as possible, including children and the elderly. So any testing needs to be very safe to undertaken in a carefully managed way.

FAQs - read through some of the most commonly asked questions about COVID-19 vaccine trials

Barts Health COVID-19 Research PPIE Advisory Group

The Barts Health COVID-19 Research Patient and Public Inolvement and Engagement (PPIE) Advisory Group was established in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, primarily to provide a forum for those who are interested in working together to promote COVID-19 research and related patient and public involvement/engagement. 

The lay advisory group consists of local patient representatives, Barts Health Patient Research Champions and staff from the Barts Health Research Engagement and Diffusion team. 

The group currently meets weekly to discuss the development of projects in raising awareness of COVID-19 research and the related patient and public involvement. 

Read the Terms of Reference for the advisory group (coming soon) 

For more information email the Barts Health Research Engagement and Diffusion team 

Two of our lay advisors, Paul and Ellie.

Read more about COVID-19 research

British Heart Foundation COVID-19 hub

For more information on heart conditions and the coronavirus, nurses answering your questions, emotional support and the heart helpline.

NIHR Be part of research - frequently asked questions about COVID-19

UKRI Coronavirus explained

FutureLearn free online course 

This FutureLearn, free online course, covers how COVID-19 emerged and was identified , how it spread, public health measures for COVID-19 worldwide and what we need to address going forward. This course is open to anyone working in health or members of the public interested in learning more about the virus. 

Trials Connect - COVID-19 study information  (put together by a patient-led group) 

National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Clinical Research Network (CRN) latest COVID-19 news.

Read about others who have taken part in research

In 2018/2019 over 1 million people took part in research. This public participation has helped provide valuable knowledge to help people live healthier and better lives now and in the future. 

Read about the experiences of others taking part in research at the NIHR website and the Healthtalk website