Almost 68,000 people across the West Midlands took part in coronavirus research in a year

Almost 68,000 people across the West Midlands have taken part in coronavirus research over the past year, new figures show.

The latest National Institute for Health Research Clinical Research Network annual statistics show the impact the organisation made in delivering vital clinical research during 2020/21.

An unprecedented number of participants took part in NIHR CRN-supported studies between April 2020 and March this year.

In the West Midlands, 86,808 people enrolled in studies overall including Covid-specific studies – up from 71,731 in 2019/20.

Throughout the year, the network played a leading role in the fight against Covid-19 by coordinating UK wide clinical research into the disease – resulting in life-saving treatments and vaccines in record time.

The extensive experience, infrastructure and networks already in place across the country enabled the NIHR to quickly pivot its core business to focus on leading the global fight against Covid.

More than a million people took part in these key studies across the UK, with 905,790 participants recruited in England alone.

The West Midlands accounted for 67,674 of these, across 43 separate studies.

Professor Matthew Brookes, clinical director at NIHR CRN West Midlands, said: "These numbers are great for both NHS patients, who are helping to shape the treatments of tomorrow, and the NHS staff, who have had such a heavy workload, particularly during Covid-19.

"We thank them all for everything they put into research last year."

Professor David Loughton, chief executive of The Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust, which hosts the network, added: "The striking accomplishments of the CRN in the region are testament to the hard work and commitment of the excellent staff, and the willingness of participants to give up their time to help others."

The NIHR Clinical Research Network’s annual research statistics provide the most comprehensive data around the state of clinical research across the country.

The data is taken from studies on the NIHR CRN portfolio, which cover the bulk of clinical research studies delivered in England.

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