Investigating cardiovascular disease in relation to COVID-19 

Work being led by the BHF Data Science Centre indicates that, in Scotland, approximately half the number of patients have presented to hospital with acute coronary syndromes in recent weeks, compared with the same period last year.  At the same time there has been an increase in cardiovascular deaths of about 15% compared with the average over the last five years, peaking at the end of March – about a week after lockdown and a month after the first reported case of COVID 19 in Scotland was reported. 

Further insights on the direct and indirect impacts on COVID-19 on cardiovascular patients will emerge through analyses of linked nationally collated datasets from all UK nations by the CVD-COVID-UK consortium, coordinated by the BHF Data Science Centre .

Read more about the BHF Data Science Centre

Using health data science to examine the impact of COVID-19 in care homes 

Researchers at University College London (UCL), part of HDR UK London, are collaborating with the care home provider Four Seasons Healthcare (FSHC) to look at weekly data on COVID-19 cases, hospital admissions, deaths and the use of disease control measures across a national network of 200 care homes with >9000 residents. 

A similar project is being run by HDR UK North researchers at the Universities of Sheffield and Lancaster using data from a network of 60 care homes across the North East.   Activities in Wales integrated into the SAIL COVID-19 eCohort are also exploring relevant analysis in partnership with Public Health Wales as well as within Scottish National Safe Haven. Early insights are expected in the coming weeks. 

Psychological impacts of lockdown 

The University of Edinburgh, part of HDR UK Scotland, is leading a study into the psychological impacts of the lockdown due to the pandemic. According to the CovidLife survey, 50% of those questioned who were in employment before COVID-19 are very confident of post-COVID employment, the rest have concerns and there has been a dramatic increase in feeling lonely and socially isolated. By 30 April there were 10,000 responses, with 80% of respondents from Scotland and the rest from England.

Visit the CovidLife webpage 

COVID-19 projects from BREATHE – The Health Data Research Hub for Respiratory Health: COVIDENCE & EAVE II 

COVIDENCE is a new study which will help identify who is most at risk of contracting COVID-19 and why some people become more ill than others with the disease. 

The study aims to recruit a diverse group of at least 12,000 people, including those who have already had proven or suspected COVID-19, and with and without underlying conditions.
Recruitment to the study began on Friday 1 May, and received media coverage. 

The study will also create a platform to fast-track future trials of potential preventative treatments. 

BREATHE Director Professor Aziz Sheikh is Scotland Lead for the project. 

Visit the COVIDENCE website 

EAVE II is a study that will track the progress of the COVID-19 epidemic in near real time, using healthcare records of 1.2 million people in Scotland to form a more complete picture of the effect COVID-19 is having upon people’s health. 

Scotland is uniquely placed to allow this type of research due to the rich dataset generated via the Community Health Index (CHI) number – a distinctive identifier assigned to each person in Scotland registered with the NHS. This process will help to identify the clinical features of the pandemic and provide estimates of the effectiveness of any vaccines and anti-viral therapies used in future. Data Analysis will be performed by BREATHE. 

See the announcement from the University of Edinburgh 

Visit the BREATHE webpage 

More information and tools 

  1. Submit your research question or project– we are calling on anyone with a research question for COVID-19 that requires health data to share your ideas via our online form.
    Questions will be shared in our HDR UK COVID-19 Skills & Knowledge Matchmaker. We prioritise all of the questions using a transparent and objective process to identify the questions that most urgently need to access to data. Progress of the prioritised questions is reported weekly to the government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE). 
  2. HDR UK GitHub repository – The HDR UK community is developing computer-based tools and methodologies to analyse and handle health data, including those that can help overcome the COVID-19 challenge. These are all shared in a central repository, which is open to the public, so that we can all learn from each other and build on each other’s work. They are shared in HDR UK’s area of GitHub.
  3. COVID-19 Slack channels – researchers and innovators looking to collaborate to use health data to address the pandemic can apply to join our dedicated Slack channels. Complete the form to register your interest in joining here.
  4. Take a look at our Skills & Knowledge Matchmaker to see a full list of COVID-19 ongoing projects, or visit COVID-19 page to see the latest version of HDR UK’s strategy to support efforts to tackle the pandemic.