A LEADING Bradford pharmacist is carrying out ground-breaking work with the GP practices across the city to recruit people to join a clinical trial that uses two anti-biotic drugs to treat Covid-19.

The University of Oxford-led PRINCIPLE trial is one of the government’s national priority platform trials on treatments for Covid-19.

While developing grassroots partnerships has been a focus of the trial’s recruitment strategy, recruiting people from black, Asian and minority ethnic communities has been a particular challenge.

To widen community access to the trial, Bradford-born Professor Mahendra Patel joined the trial as co-investigator and is the trial’s national black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) community and pharmacy research lead.

Dr Patel is meeting today at Little Horton Medical Centre with GPs from 27 practices across Bradford.

"We're getting a whole bunch of GPs together to promote the government's flagship clinical trial, which is looking at two anti-biotics to treat Covid-19.

"It's very timely with cases rising," said Dr Patel. "If people are in the 50 and over category and they have symptoms of coronavirus, they could be eligible of the trial.

The trial is evaluating whether treatment early on in the community can help people aged over 50 recover quickly from COVID-19 illness, without the need for hospital admission.

It is open across the UK to people aged over 50 with an underlying health condition or anyone aged over 65. Those with COVID-19 symptoms can easily join online from home or via GP practices across the country, without needing face-to-face visits.

"We're using established anti-biotic drugs that treat respiratory infections and pneumonia. If we can reduce the symptoms, we reduce the need to go into hospital," said Dr Patel.

Thousands of volunteers are still needed for research studies into coronavirus treatments, especially amongst British Asian communities, who are often underrepresented in this type of research but can be at higher risk of developing more serious Covid-19 illness.

"This is a public health issue and this trial is looking to help the people most affected by Covid by stopping the disease from progressing.

"Black and Asian minorities are most affected, which is why it's important to engage people because Bradford's need is so high."

With his experience, Dr Patel is strengthening recruitment from these communities.

He said: "I am promoting and supporting the wider recruitment of people to the trial through my national pharmacy and community networks.

"These 27 practices I'm meeting with have 160,000 patients, and these patients could be eligible for this trial.

"This is ground-breaking work. Nobody in any part of the country is doing this. I want to make Bradford a model other people can look at. You can't easily mobilise so many practices and get them to join together.

"But we care about our community to help them if we can."

To find out more about how to take part visit principletrial.org