Roundup highlights:

  • HDR UK’s latest report to SAGE
  • COVID-19 data and tools on the Health Data Research Innovation Gateway
  • Moving forward: Supporting vital research on COVID vaccines
  • First cohort study of the COVID-19 vaccination programme in England – pre-print from OpenSAFELY
  • Video interview with Munir Pirmohamed
  • Our latest blogs – ‘the case for cohorts’ and ‘collecting storing and managing COVID data’

HDR UK’s latest report to SAGE

This week 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:

  • A new online, openly accessible tool that integrates genome, immunology and mutation data is likely to prove useful in monitoring for mutations and vaccination efficacy as vaccination programmes are rolled out across the UK and globally – read more.
  • Access to data at scale continues to be a priority as vaccine programmes are rolled-out across the country.  Initial data, showing a small drop in vaccine effectiveness against mutated forms of COVID-19, is concerning, but limited by the low sample size reinforcing this need – read more.
  • Data showing fewer referrals for colorectal cancer and a reduction in the number of people diagnosed and treated, again demonstrates the long-term detrimental impacts of the pandemic on broader health conditions and  growing backlog of unmanaged conditions facing the NHS – read more.
  • Near-real time NHS Test and Trace data has been successfully used to recruit participants to the PRINCIPLE (Platform Randomised trial of INterventions against COVID-19 In older peoPLE) trial. The use of this routine data feed increases the speed of recruitment and shows a novel approach to address recruitment challenges – read more.
  • We are continuing to bring together COVID-19 research questions that are using data and these are published and updated on the Health Data Innovation Gateway – read more.

Gateway data collections on the Health Data Research Innovation Gateway

Datasets, projects, and tools that are relevant to COVID-19 research can be discovered on the Gateway.  You can search and discover COVID-19 datasets and view the collections of datasets and tools being used by each of the National Core Studies.

Moving forward: Supporting vital research on COVID vaccines

Six million people in England have now received a first dose of one of the approved COVID-19 vaccines, with ongoing rapid deployment across the whole of the UK. The current focus is rightly on operational management of the vaccine rollout, however there are important research questions to consider around vaccine safety, effectiveness, length of protection and whether the vaccine reduces transmission of the virus.  To support this, we are working with our colleagues at the Office for National Statistics, the NHS in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, and the Vaccines Science Co-ordination Group to make plans for the flow of vaccines data for research.  This week there has been some initial progress with data on the England vaccines programme now flowing into the Office for National Statistics, and Welsh vaccines data flowing into SAIL. The teams in both organisations are now focussed on the final approvals needed to make this data more widely available for research. We will provide updates on the availability of vaccines data for research via our regular reports to SAGE.

Our work continues to be steered by our patient and public advisors.  In our recent survey Vaccine Research Question Prioritisation we asked patients, members of the public and practitioners to prioritise research questions and this is informing the key data needs of the National Core Studies in preparation for the data being made available.

First cohort study of the COVID-19 vaccination programme in England – pre-print from OpenSAFELY

Working on behalf of NHS England, OpenSAFELY used routine clinical data from 23.4 million patients to conduct a retrospective cohort study of comprehensive electronic health record data in NHS England. Algorithms were developed to identify key demographic and clinical sub-groups within this population and generate descriptive statistics on proportion of eligible patients receiving the vaccine among key Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) target groups.

The availability of data and ability to generate this early set of research on it is a great achievement. Further analysis and insight will be enabled in coming days and weeks, as datasets on the vaccine roll-out programme become available in the Innovation Gateway in coming weeks through our Data & Connectivity programme – read more.

Video interview with Munir Pirmohamed

We spoke to Munir Pirmohamed – Chair of Medicine at the University of Liverpool and
Director of HDR UK North – about his work to support vaccine research. In this 4-minute video, Munir tells us about the data needs and importance of linkage, the challenges, and how the UK is coordinating vaccines research – watch here.

Our latest blogs

Find out the latest views, opinions and questions raised by the COVID-19 pandemic in our two recent blog posts.

  • Throughout 2020, we witnessed an unquenched thirst for information on the COVID-19 pandemic and – in most quarters – a remarkable willingness to change our normal behaviour to help protect the NHS and save lives. Collected data has been willingly shared at a greater scale and with a higher level of detail than ever before. While valuable, this ‘in the moment’ data collection has its limits.

Find out more

  • Once someone has tested positive for COVID-19 and their sample has been selected for sequencing by The COVID-19 Genomics UK (COG-UK), what happens to their sample data? How do we link individuals SARS-CoV-2 sample data with other information, and how do we store and manage all this data?

Find out more