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Part of Coronavirus programme updates, 15 December 2020

Enabling research and clinical trials

We're making sure that data and analyses can be shared to support research, enabling evaluation of different response interventions and increasing the understanding of coronavirus (COVID-19) transmission, immunity and clinical outcomes. We're also enabling the acceleration of coronavirus drug and vaccine clinical trials.

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Summary

We're making sure that data and analyses can be shared to support research, enabling evaluation of different response interventions and increasing the understanding of coronavirus (COVID-19) transmission, immunity and clinical outcomes. We're also enabling the acceleration of coronavirus drug and vaccine clinical trials.


Enabling research

UK Biobank

We expanded the data provision for UK Biobank to include a monthly flow of the GP Data for Pandemic Planning and Research (GDPPR) data set, collected by NHS Digital.  

UK Biobank is a large-scale biomedical database, holding primary care data for over 500,000 participants, and provides an important resource for public health research, including on the longer-term health effects of coronavirus.  

This additional data will enable a better understanding of the role of underlying health conditions in the presentation and progression of the disease.

PRINCIPLE trial

We enabled a significant improvement in the recruitment of patients for the PRINCIPLE trial through the provision of lists of patients that tested positive for coronavirus in community settings (Pillar 2 data).  

The PRINCIPLE trial aims to identify treatments for coronavirus that can be taken at home to prevent hospitalisation.

It targets individuals aged over 65 and those over 50 with underlying health conditions, and recruitment needs to start within 14 days of the onset of symptoms.

Access to timely and comprehensive patient data, and the ability to reach out directly to patients, has improved recruitment rates and has reduced the burden on GPs. Increases in the number of patients recruited improves the predictive power of the trial and enables more treatments to be tested.

Accelerating researchers’ access to data

On 25 November 2020, we jointly hosted an education session for researchers on opportunities to improve how they use health and social care datasets in research, with a specific focus on improving awareness of the available data assets, access routes, and approval requirements.  

Over 230 researchers attended the collaborative event, which was co-led by the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) together with Health Data Research UK (HDR UK), MRC Regulatory Support Centre, NHS Digital and the Health Quality Improvement Partnership (HQIP).  

Additional sessions are planned for early 2021 and requests to attend should be sent to researchsector@nhs.net.

National Core Studies Programme’s data and connectivity workstream

With partners, NHS Digital is delivering key capabilities for the Covid-19 National Core Studies Programme’s data and connectivity workstream.

The National Core Studies Programme was established to support research into Covid-19 and to accelerate the development of world-leading health data and research infrastructure.

Find out about the capabilities and our role in them:

Central point for viewing and requesting data

NHS Digital’s assets are being made available via HDR UK’s Innovation Gateway.

Secure, scalable cloud-based access  to research data

NHS Digital’s Trusted Research Environments are being expanded and enhanced with new, prioritised datasets being made added

Streamlined governance and ‘concierge’ support

Working closely with other UK data custodians to align information governance approaches, simplify access to data and help researchers make the best use of new datasets.

Last edited: 16 December 2020 1:24 pm