The highlights for this update include:

  • INSIGHTS in our latest report to SAGE.
  • READ about our Open Door Session.
  • PROGRESS on Data and Connectivity National Core Study in this month’s progress report.
  • DISCOVER COVID-19 data and tools on the Health Data Research Innovation Gateway.

 INSIGHTS: Our latest report to SAGE

 This week we published the latest research insights and data access updates in our regular report that we share with SAGE (the Government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies), UK Research and Innovation and the wider science community.

The highlights for this report include the following research, all of which demonstrate the benefits and insights that can be gained from using linked health data at scale:

Using data from nearly 7,000 participants in UK Biobank, researchers have shown that older “biological age” rather than actual age is associated with a greater risk of COVID-19 hospitalisation and death. Biological age may be older or younger than a person’s actual age.

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Analyses of antibody tests linked to national testing programme data & vaccination records from >10,000 residents of 310 long term care facilities in England as part of the VIVALDI study, indicate that a 1st dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech or Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine substantially reduces the risk of COVID-19 infection in older adults.

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86% of participants who were reluctant or intending to refuse a COVID-19 vaccine in December were planning on accepting (or already had accepted) a vaccine in February survey response data from >20,000 adults as part of the VirusWatch household study has indicated. These findings were consistent across ethnic and social groups.

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A social media survey of >2,500 people, co-produced with patients, found that long COVID affects people’s daily life, including their mental health, ability to work and do domestic chores. For the majority, symptoms fluctuate or worsen and common triggers include physical activity, stress, poor sleep and cognitive activity.

Find out more

This week’s patient and public voice feedback

As always, our reports on COVID-19 research and data are reviewed by our patient and public advisors.

Find out more

READ about our Data & Connectivity Open Door Session

 We announced and held the following month an Open Door Session for members of the public to be part of an open discussion about the Data and Connectivity National Core Study, and have any questions answered.

We heard from Andrew Morris (Director, HDR UK), Lara Edwards (Senior Programme Manager, HDR UK), Judy Slape (Public Engagement and Involvement Officer, HDR UK), and Margaret Rogers (Lay Member, Data and Connectivity)

78 people attended the session with 70% self-identifying as members of the public. Other attendees were from HDR UK Hubs, charities, universities and NHS.

In an evaluation survey sent to attendees, 56% of attendees felt their understanding of the Data and Connectivity National Core Study was improved by ‘a great deal’ and ‘a lot’. Furthermore, 72% stated they would be ‘extremely interested’ and ‘very interested’ in attending future events as the Data and Connectivity National Core Study progresses.

PROGRESS making key data available for research into COVID-19

This month’s progress report details the key progress and achievements made by the delivery partners across the UK and the key datasets that are now available for vital COVID-19 research. Progress this month includes:

  1. Improvements to the data access process via the Gateway include: the ability to clone applications on the Gateway and work with our delivery partner TREs to ensure further integration of the Five Safes with TRE systems.
  2. Work is progressing to make more frequent hospital activity data available within the NHS Digital trusted research environment. Data on community services is also now available within the TRE.
  3. Newly designed webpages for Data and Connectivity are now live. These were designed with input from our patient and public advisory board who are also working with us to develop a specific webpage for the public.
  4. 11 participants attended workshops to gather patient and public feedback on proposed accredited researcher passports, which would allow accredited researchers to access multiple TREs. There was broad support, and participants raised important questions about security, who could access the data and how long the passports lasted.
  5. Northern Ireland Honest Broker Service launched remote access for researcher using UK Secure eResearch Platform. The HDR UK funded research team from Kings College London are the first research group from outside Northern Ireland that has been enabled to remotely deliver their research and access data.

DISCOVER: COVID-19 data on the Health Data Research Innovation Gateway

There are now over 600 datasets listed and available to request access through this platform. These include 6 dedicated collections (75 datasets) for the National Core Studies into COVID-19, openly available to discover and request access.