Expert panel discuss Covid-19 research taking place in Sheffield
A panel of experts who are currently working on the development of treatments and vaccines for Covid-19 in Sheffield have hosted a virtual event to celebrate International Clinical Trials Day.
Researchers and clinicians from the University of Sheffield (UoS) and Sheffield Teaching Hospitals (STH) hosted the live Q&A event on June 24, in which they answered questions from members of the public about the current Covid-19 research taking place in the city.
Taking part were Sarah Rowland-Jones, a Professor of Infection and Immunity at the UoS and an Honorary Consultant in adult Infectious Diseases; Dr Ruth Payne, a lecturer at UoS and an Honorary Specialist Registrar in Infectious Diseases at STH NHS Foundation Trust; and Dr Paul Collini, a Senior Clinical Lecturer in Infectious Diseases at UoS and Honorary Consultant in Infectious Diseases and Tropical Medicine at STH NHS Foundation Trust.
Simon Heller, Professor of Clinical Diabetes at UoS and Director of Research and Development and Honorary Consultant Physician at STH NHS Foundation Trust, also acted as chair for the discussion.
The event was held to mark International Clinical Trials Day, a yearly event which commemorates the date that pioneer and Scottish naval surgeon, James Lind, began his first controlled clinical trial into scurvy in 1747.
Since then, research has played a vital role in improving healthcare for everyone and now more than ever clinical research is crucial, as it will help us understand more about Covid-19 – with researchers and healthcare professionals at the forefront of this urgent research in Sheffield.
They are currently involved in several research studies including the Oxford vaccine, a clinical trial into a new vaccine against Covid-19 in healthy volunteers; the Recovery trial which is testing a range of potential treatments for the virus; and the GENoMICC study, which is aiming to better understand the varied effects of Covid-19.
Speaking about the importance of clinical trials, Professor Heller said: “When you start a vaccine study and develop it, it usually takes years but this is being done through Oxford and there’s also one through London Imperial College.
“They’re doing it really fast so you’ve got to prove safety by trying it on people to see how it goes, then work out the right dose which is phase two, before you do a clinical trial with large numbers of people.
“Obviously you need big numbers and you need people to volunteer.
“I think the people volunteering are doing it with a view that there could be side effects and that it might not work. They knew it would mean travelling to Sheffield, in this particular case, for up to a year, having to take regular swabs and sending them off to see if they had symptoms or had the virus.
“All those things need to be emphasised. People are giving up their time – obviously not being paid – and are doing it not necessarily for their own benefit, but for the wider public and for the people of Sheffield because a vaccine is the one thing that would probably put us back to normal.”
To view the discussion visit the Our Fave Places website.