A NEW patient recruitment centre in Bradford is delivering the third phase of the coronavirus vaccine trials as part of a £7million investment.

Based at Bradford Teaching Hospitals, it is one of five new national patient recruitment centres (NPRCs) created to boost clinical research in regional areas and make it easier for people to take part in studies.

But as the world deals with the covid-19 pandemic, the centre will focus primarily on finding a way to help our bodies fight the virus.

The centres will play a pivotal role in delivering and helping people take part in vital covid-19 vaccine studies. 

The Novavax Phase 3 Covid-19 vaccine trial is already underway at Patient Recruitment Centre: Bradford.

On top of covid-19 trials, the centre specialises in recruiting non-hospitalised patients with common chronic health conditions – such as asthma, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease – conditions commonly managed by primary and community health services.

The centres are spread across England with a wide geographical catchment area to increase opportunities and make it easier for people in regions across the country to take part in studies and potentially benefit from innovation through clinical research.

The chosen trusts include Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust, Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust.

The NPRCs, which are now operational and recruiting, are part funded through an investment from the Government’s Life Sciences Industrial Strategy and Sector Deal 2 – a series of measures aiming to strengthen the UK environment for clinical research.

Dr Faisal Ali, a consultant histopathologist at BRI, was the very first person to sign up for the Covid-19 vaccine trials.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus:

Dr Ali said: “The reason I put my name down is because I think the only way we are going to get through this coronavirus pandemic and return to some sort of normality is through the development of an effective vaccine against coronavirus.

“And basically, the development of that vaccine will rely on many volunteers to come and take part in these trials and see if these potential vaccines are effective.

“I have seen the toll this virus is taking so it’s vital people sign up to these trials, I would really encourage colleagues and the community to do the same.”

Jess, a transformation manager from Yorkshire and Humber, took part in the Novavax study at the Patient Recruitment Centre in Bradford.

After attending the PRC to receive her first dose as part of the vaccine study, she said: “Taking part couldn’t have been a better process. I was sent lots of information and had the opportunity to read everything I was signing up to before I actually did it.

"A consultant took my consent and after some tests I was given the dose and put under observation. I have to go back on day 21 for my second dose and if at any point I think I have symptoms of Covid I have a dedicated number to call. I think I’m well supported and the staff made a real difference.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus:

“I’m pleased to be able to play a small part in the study –  [the pandemic] isn’t going away until we have people taking part actively in these studies and without the collective efforts of all the people working on vaccines, we aren’t going to be able to beat the virus.”

Professor Dinesh Saralaya, consultant respiratory physician & director of the Bradford NIHR PRC, told the T&A: "The National Institute of Health Research made a call for five patient recruitment centres in 2019. Bradford, with its rich track record, diverse population and history of delivering big trials, made a bid for it. We were one of 35 trusts nationally to make a bid. That bid was awarded to us in January then came covid. 
"The patient recruitment centres have been playing an integral part in several covid treatment trials. We have recruited 501 subjects into the study and we're going to be following up these subjects for a full year.

"It can only benefit our population. It's the city of research. We know taking part in clinical trials helps care. It's absolutely great news for our city. It's the combination of many years of hard work.

"It's the only one in Yorkshire.

"It's about the city coming together, the hospital, the primary care, to deliver a vaccine. It's great news for the city."

And while the centre is celebrating the launch, the professor has issued a plea for a diverse range of participants in the vaccine trial.

Only three per cent of the participants are from the 'BAME' community while there are only two people of Chinese ethnicity taking part in the study.

"We need the community to be involved in the vaccine," he said.

The professor said the lack of take-up has been linked to misinformation and fake news on covid-19.

Anyone who would like to take part in the study should call the team on 01274 383448 or message/tag the Twitter handle @PRCBradford