This #Red4Research day, we are proud to join other regulators, NHS trusts, charities and the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) to recognise the incredible work that has gone into making COVID-19 research happen.
#Red4Research Day aims to get as many people as possible wearing red to show their support and appreciation for all those participating in, undertaking and supporting COVID-19 research.
At the HRA, our staff and our volunteer research ethics committee (RECs) members have worked incredibly hard. We’ve reviewed more than 800 COVID-19 research studies to ensure the research is robust, ethical and effective for patients.
Dr Matt Westmore, Chief Executive of the HRA
‘Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, research has been crucial in producing information, diagnostics, treatments and vaccines to help us combat the virus. Today, we’re supporting #Red4Research to show our appreciation for the achievements, hard work and dedication of everyone who reviews, funds, conducts and participates in research.’
Sally Humphreys, #Red4Research founder
‘Research isn’t undertaken by individuals working in isolation – it is collegial, made possible by people around the world working together. Research doesn’t just happen, people make it happen – research participants, patients, professionals, volunteers and regulatory bodies all collectively working together. COVID-19 has impacted on all of us. Research offers a beacon of hope, it underpins the largest vaccine campaign in history and everybody has played their part.’
We spoke to someone of our volunteers and staff who have been involved in facilitating good quality COVID-19 research over the last year.
Dr Janet Messer, Head of the Approvals Service at the HRA
‘The HRA has learned a huge of amount during the pandemic, which we are already acting on to further benefit research. Collaboration is the foundation of our success and it’s a testament to what can be achieved when we are all working towards the same goal.’
Jen Harrison, Change Manager – HRA Approvals
‘We’ve seen incredible adaptability across the whole research community, and huge positive energy in finding ways to do things, overcoming hurdles that had at times seemed too high to jump.’
Dr Tony Lockett, co-vice chair of the York REC
‘I have been impressed, humbled and moved by the work of the committees that reviewed trials such as RECAP and the challenge trials. ‘Lay’ REC members demonstrated a degree of ethical decision making I did not anticipate, and to my academic mindset it was a real eye opener.’
Public participation been key to many COVID-19 studies, with patients and public contributors making a massive difference to research, ensuring it works for patients.
Leni Sivey, Public Involvement Manager, HRA
'Public involvement in COVID-19 research is vitally important, and the contribution from patients, carers, service users, and other members of the public over the past year has been astounding. Involving those with relevant lived experience early enables the development of higher quality research and makes it easier to recruit and retain participants.’
Data has also been crucial in research into COVID-19. Our Confidentiality Advisory Group (CAG) is an independent body that provides expert advice on using confidential patient information. It balances patient confidentiality with supporting the use of medical data when research proposals have a strong public benefit.
Dr Tony Calland CBE, Chair, CAG
‘Balancing patient confidentiality and the use of medical data has been vital to help researchers gain a better understanding of long Covid for instance.’