John Elliott.JPGNorth Cumbria continues to help lead the way in COVID-19 studies with North Cumbria Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust (NCIC) being confirmed as one of the top recruiters in a study to track the infection in NHS staff.

The SIREN (Sarscov2 Immunity & REinfection EvaluatioN) study’s overall aim is to determine if prior infection of COVID-19 can provide future immunity to re-infection.

Following the roll-out of vaccinations amongst healthcare workers, SIREN will be the leading the way in providing estimates of vaccine effectiveness. This is particularly important for groups that are currently underrepresented; non-clinical support workers, males, and people from ethnic minority backgrounds.

A letter sent to the Trust from Dr Susan Hopkins from Public Health England, said:  “Currently, around 1.2 per cent of all SIREN participants have been recruited from North Cumbria Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust. Your Trust is also among the leading recruiters for non-clinical support roles, who make up five per cent of your participants. Alongside this, 11 per cent of your participants identify as male and three per cent indicate they are from an ethnic minority background.”

John Elliott, consultant oral surgeon, chair of the Trust’s Research Committee and principal investigator at NCIC, said: “We were one of the first trusts to sign up to the SIREN trial and to hear that we were one of the top recruiters is amazing. We were quite surprised and delighted; it shows that we have an extremely motivated team who are well-led.”

Those taking part at NCIC make up one per cent of all patients in the trial – that’s 405 people.

Professor Dave Dagnan, director of research & development at NCIC added: “The letter from Public Health England is extremely positive and identifies NCIC as one of the top recruiting sites nationally and the only trust in the North East and Cumbria region to be asked to join the ‘lessons learned’ process to contribute our experience of successful recruitment.”

The news comes just a week after it was confirmed that 500 people treated in hospitals as NCIC have taken part in a research trial to assess the effectiveness of treatments for COVID-19. The Trust is one of the top recruiters nationally to the Randomised Evaluation of COVID-19 therapy (RECOVERY trial) which is coordinated by the University of Oxford. Since its launch in March 2020, the trial has delivered evidence on the efficacy of six treatments including the first major breakthrough in the COVID-19 response – the finding that dexamethasone saves the lives of severely ill patients.


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