Sheffield Children’s supports international efforts to understand and manage COVID-19 through research

Thursday 28 May 2020

Eight clinical research studies into COVID-19 are now underway at Sheffield Children’s NHS Foundation Trust, as researchers join the international effort to understand and manage the virus.

Sheffield Children’s already has an extensive research programme through its Clinical Research Facility and is currently focusing its efforts towards the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Urgent Public Health COVID-19 studies.

By delivering these vital national studies, the Trust is helping to build understanding about the infection and its impact.

Studies are carried out in partnership with a range of health and academic institutions, with current study sponsors including Imperial College London, Sheffield Teaching Hospitals, NHS Lothian and the University of Oxford.

Each study has a different focus ranging from how COVID-19 patients are triaged in the Emergency Department to COVID-19 recovery.

Professor Paul Dimitri, Professor of Child Health, Director of Research and Innovation at Sheffield Children’s, Consultant in Paediatric Endocrinology, and Director of NIHR Children and Young People MedTech Co-operative said:

“Research is a key component in the response to the current pandemic and I am proud that the team at Sheffield Children’s is able to support many research studies from across the UK.

“Fortunately it appears that the majority of children and young people that contract COVID-19 only appear to present with mild symptoms, but we continue to undertake research to understand how this virus affects the paediatric population. However, there is growing evidence that a small number of children are experiencing a more severe response to the virus, known as paediatric multi-system inflammatory syndrome. Sheffield Children’s is taking part in research projects to better understand this condition, in order to assist prevention and treatment.​

“In our usual working environment, our team of experts in children’s conditions work hard to develop medicines, treatments and new health technology for children, working with partners locally, nationally and internationally to do so. Now we are able to use the skills from our colleagues and information provided by patients, families and staff at Sheffield Children’s to help inform the national picture of the COVID-19 outbreak and care for both children and adults, which will be incredibly valuable insight to help us move forward.”

The current studies underway include:

  • Randomised Evaluation of COVID-19 Therapy: the RECOVERY trial, Sponsored by University of Oxford
  • The PRIEST Study (Pandemic Respiratory Infection Emergency System Triage), Sponsored by Sheffield Teaching Hospitals
  • The What’s The Story Study – Serum Testing of Representative Youngsters, Sponsored by University of Oxford
  • GenOMiCC Study – The Genetics of Susceptibility and Mortality in Critical Care, sponsored by NHS Lothian
  • The Coronavirus Infection in Primary or Secondary Immunosuppressed Children, Sponsored by University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust
  • ISARIC- CCP – WHO Clinical Characterisation Protocol for Severe Emerging Infection, Sponsored by University of Oxford
  • Psychological impact of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and experience: An international survey, Sponsored by Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust
  • Diagnosis and Management of Febrile Illness using RNA Personalised Molecular Signature Diagnosis – DIAMONDS, Sponsored by Imperial College London

Depending on the study protocol, patients can take part at different points in their care. For example, some studies are open to patients attending Sheffield Children’s through the Emergency Department; in a different study patients can take part if they have been admitted and are suspected or have a confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19. We are also running a study that looks at how vulnerable children with other conditions that affects their immune system may be affected by COVID-19.

NIHR Children and Young People MedTech Co-operative are hosted by the Research and Innovation Directorate at Sheffield Children’s.