Watch our webinar: Introducing the International COVID-19 Data Research Alliance and Workbench

On Wednesday 8 July, HDR UK and partners held a webinar to introduce the new International COVID-19 Data Research Alliance and Workbench.

The COVID-19 Therapeutics Accelerator announced a grant to Health Data Research UK to establish a new International Data Research Alliance and Data Analysis Workbench to support the rapid development of insights and treatments to combat the global effects of COVID-19 on 26 June 2020.

The founding members of the International Alliance bring their collective data assets, expertise and funding, and include the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Minderoo Foundation, Wellcome, African Academy of Sciences, HDR Network Canada, Genomics England, and the Infectious Diseases Data Observatory.

Watch the recording of the webinar here

Excess deaths from cancer due to COVID-19 pandemic

A study led by UCL, part of HDR UK London, and DATA-CAN – The Health Data Research Hub for Cancer, has this week received national coverage for indicating that the pandemic could lead to up to 35,000 excess deaths from cancer in the UK over the next year. This is primarily due to delays in treatment and diagnoses.

The BBC’s Panorama documentary on Monday 6 July featured researchers from DATA-CAN. The story also received coverage across several national news outlets following a lead story in The Times.

Watch on Panorama

See coverage in The Times

Event report: Health Data Science in the COVID-19 Era – HDR UK One Institute Conference 2020

On 16 June 2020, HDR UK held its annual ‘One Institute’ Conference, this year focusing on the pivot in health data science to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic.

It was a fantastic day involving over 50 speakers, with important outcomes for the health data science community. You can now view the post-event report containing overviews of each session and highlighting key outcomes and takeaways. Recordings and slides for all sessions are also available to view, including the welcome from Sir Patrick Vallance, Government Chief Scientific Adviser and Co-Chair, Scientific Advisory Committee for Emergencies (SAGE).

Read the post-event report

View the session recordings and slides

Potential biomarkers to indicate disease severity or therapeutic targets identified

Colleagues at HDR UK London have published a preprint paper outlining a study exploring differences in blood samples between mild, severe and critical COVID-19 patients. The study found proteins that could potentially be used as biomarkers – biological indicators – that could help clinicians predict how severely a patient might be affected, or what treatments are likely to best suit them.

Read the preprint paper

No clinical benefit from use of lopinavir-ritonavir in hospitalised COVID-19 patients

The RECOVERY Trial, involving HDR UK Oxford and NHS DigiTrials colleagues, is conducting the world’s largest trial of potential COVID-19 treatments. Over 11,800 patients have been enrolled in the trial so far, with 1,596 randomised to lopinavir-ritonavir. The study has concluded that there is no beneficial impact from the drug on mortality rates or requirement for mechanical ventilation.

This important work means that researchers and clinicians can focus on other, more promising potential treatments.

Read more on the RECOVERY trial website

Free resource to study how populations are responding to Covid-19

Researchers who wish to collect information on large population cohorts now have access to a new free resource thanks to a grant and support from The Wellcome Trust.

The Wellcome Covid-19 questionnaire addresses health, behaviour, environmental, social and economic issues in the context of the pandemic. It will be updated as priorities and issues change and findings can be fast-tracked to policy makers.

Those working in biomedical and social science fields will be able to make use of the data as it emerges. The development of the questionnaire, analysis of data and presentation to policy makers is being managed by a steering group led by the University of Bristol’s Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children and the University of Edinburgh’s Generation Scotland.

Read more about the questionnaire

Tweet of the week

This week’s tweet of the week comes from HDR UK’s Amanda White, highlighting the privilege of being involved in the International COVID-19 Data Research Alliance and Workbench.

Follow us on Twitter

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 Knowledge + Skills 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.