EVEN more lives can be saved during the pandemic if Bradford people sign up to a national NHS research register for volunteers to test Covid-19 vaccines, a leading doctor urged today.
Consultant Respiratory Physician at Bradford Teaching Hospitals and Director of Bradford’s National Institute for Health Research Patient Recruitment Centre, Dr Dinesh Saralaya, called on members of the district’s Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic backgrounds (BAME) population to sign up today.
He said by participating in the research trials people would be helping to speed up efforts to help doctors discover a safe and effective vaccine.
Dr Saralaya added: “Of the 112k people who have already signed up to the government’s website for volunteers to test the eight-to-10 Covid trial studies – that will take place in the UK between Sept 2020 and January 2021 within the NHS – a mere six per cent are from BAME and only a handful are from Bradford.
“If we are to save lives, it’s imperative that our research includes as diverse a cross-section of our community as possible because the trials must be representative of the population that we serve.
”We know that Covid-19 affects those from a BAME community more seriously and if we are to find a vaccine that works, it must be tested on that population so that we know it creates the right antibodies to fight the disease.”
He called on volunteers to express interest by registering to take part in the NHS research trials by signing up to the NHS COVID-19 Vaccine Research Registry to help the NHS in the fight against coronavirus and ensure potential candidates work for everyone.
To enable large-scale vaccine studies to take place across the UK, the aim is to get as many people as possible signed up to the Registry by October.
Researchers particularly welcome people from all parts of society, especially those who are more likely to benefit from a vaccine, including the over 65s, frontline health and social care workers, and those from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic backgrounds.
Clinical studies with a diverse pool of volunteers will help scientists and researchers better understand the effectiveness of each vaccine candidate and will considerably speed up efforts to discover a safe and workable vaccine.
Marium Zumeer, 18, from West Bowling, is a Yorkshire and Humber Regional Research Ambassador who was hospitalised after contracting Covid-19.
She had first-hand experience of the benefits of taking part in clinical trials. During her time on the Bradford Royal Infirmary’s Ward 31, she was offered the opportunity to take part in the national RECOVERY trial, which is testing a range of potential treatments for Covid-19. This includes the drug dexamethasone, which was found to be the first drug to be effective when treating those who are critically ill with the virus.
Marium believes taking part in the trial was key to her recovery and recuperation.
She added: “I will always be grateful for being encouraged to sign up. I remember my Dad at the time urging me to take part, not just for myself but for the wider community.
“The result has been really positive for me and I would encourage others to do their bit in helping us all in the fight against coronavirus.
“I truly believe that taking part in the RECOVERY Covid-19 research trial helped me recover from this awful virus and I’d definitely encourage people to take part in the NHS vaccine research trials as it will help others and hopefully save lives in the long run.”