Research has been a crucial part of the pandemic response – advancing scientific understanding, researching new ways to understand and treat the disease, and guiding the treatment and care of patients, both now and in the future.
The first case of coronavirus in Scotland emerged at the beginning of March 2020. Since then over 120 COVID-19 studies have been delivered across Scotland including drug trials, vaccine trials, testing new diagnostics, clinical studies and observational studies.
Supported by NHS Research Scotland and the Chief Scientist Office of Scottish Government, health boards across Scotland have been involved in this research.
Progress has been made possible by members of the public, NHS and university researchers, health and social care professionals, regulators, life science companies and policy makers across the UK and internationally working together.
Thank you to everyone who has taken part in, led or enabled this research over the last 12 months.
#ResearchVsCovid – Get involved
Supported by the four UK nations #ResearchVsCovid is a ‘thank you’ campaign recognising the incredible efforts of participants, researchers and healthcare professionals in COVID-19 research. The campaign will feature a chorus of voices saying thank you to all those who have helped develop vital tests, treatments and vaccines.
People can get involved and share their own messages using #ResearchVsCovid
A range of assets are available for use:
- Twitter thank you graphic
- Twitter header
- Twitter quote template
- Facebook thank you graphic
- Facebook header
- Facebook quote template
Scotland has contributed to some remarkable achievements and breakthroughs, and this campaign helps to tell the stories of those who have made progress possible. Get involved and join us in telling this story.
#ResearchVsCovid – Progress
Collaborative efforts have enabled world-leading research into understanding risk factors for disease, therapeutics such as dexamethasone and tocilizumab, delivery of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine, and much more.
Such discoveries have significantly improved outcomes for people who get the virus, especially those most at risk of becoming severely unwell and hospitalised; and are providing protection against COVID-19 in the shape of the vaccination programme. Here are just a few of the major research milestones Scotland has contributed to:
- March 2020: RECOVERY - the world’s largest clinical trial of treatments for hospitalised patients opens across Scotland. Testing whether existing drugs used for other illnesses can help to treat coronavirus, it has shown that the steroid dexamethasone can improve survival in patients in need of additional oxygen; tocilizumab reduces deaths in patients hospitalised with COVID-19. It has also shown treatments that have no affect (including azithromycin, lopinavir-ritonavir,and hydroxychloroquine) enabling efforts to be focussed on other promising treatments.
- March 2020: The GenOMICC study open across Scotland is repurposed for COVID-19. University of Edinburgh researchers analysed the DNA of more than 2,700 COVID-19 patients in 208 Intensive Care Units (ICUs) across the UK to identify five genes associated with the most severe form of the disease and potential treatments.
- April 2020: Randomised, Embedded, Multifactorial, Adaptive Platform trial for Community-Acquired Pneumonia (REMAP-CAP) opened in NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde, NHS Lothian, NHS Grampian and NHS Tayside. It tests potential treatments for people with COVID-19 being treated in ICUs, finding that hydrocortisone speeds recovery and improves survival rates (September) and the anti-inflammatory drugs tocilizumab and sarilumab can cut deaths by a quarter
- May 2020: The Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine trial opens for recruitment in NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde and NHS Lothian. Vaccines usually take years to develop, but researchers, NHS staff and participants across the UK join in an unprecedented effort to develop the Oxford/AZ candidate. It was approved by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) in December to become the world’s second approved vaccine for roll-out in the UK from January.
- July 2020: NHS COVID-19 Vaccine Research Register launches to support the rapid development of vaccine candidates. More than 31,000 people across Scotland are currently registered. With a range of vaccine types needed to ensure people across the UK have access to one that works for as many people as possible, further phase 3 vaccine trials will open over the coming months.
- September 2020: From autumn NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde and NHS Grampian are engaged in delivering Phase 3 trials of a COVID-19 vaccine developed by US biotechnology company Novavax.
- November 2020: NHS Tayside recruits the first global patient to Phase 3 trials of a COVID-19 vaccine developed by Janssen Pharmaceuticals, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson. Encouraging trial results have been reported for both the Janssen and Novavax vaccines, but they have still to be approved by the MHRA.
- February 2020: NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde begin clinical trial of the antiviral tablet, favipiravir, targeted at those in the early stages of the disease.
- March 2021: The Octave study opens in Glasgow to understand the immune response to COVID-19 vaccinations in patients with certain immunosuppressed conditions, including cancer.
#ResearchVsCovid - Thank you messages
Scotland's Chief Medical Officer says thank you to everyone involved in vital COVID-19 research over the last year.
Staff from Scotland and across the Uk pay tribute to the healthcare professionals, researchers and participants who have all helped in the fight against COVID-19.
#ResearchVsCovid – The work continues
COVID-19 trials and studies continue to recruit in Scotland to help combat the effects of the virus and improve long-term understanding. Most coronavirus research studies will involve an approach by a healthcare professional if they think you are suitable to take part based on the eligibility criteria. However, there are some studies you can self-enrol onto:
The PRINCIPLE study is for people aged 65 or over with symptoms of COVID-19 or those aged 50 to 64 with symptoms of COVID-19 and other specific health conditions. The study is looking to find treatments for the over 50s that can be taken at home, helping them to get better quickly and prevent them from needing to go to hospital.
NHS COVID-19 Vaccine Register
Researchers are looking for people from all backgrounds, ages and parts of the UK, including both people with or without existing health conditions, to take part in vaccine studies, to make sure that any vaccines developed will work for everyone. The register is open to all UK residents aged 18 and over.
- Sign up to the NHS COVID-19 Vaccine Research Register
- Find out more about taking part in vaccine studies
To learn more about taking part in research visit Be Part of Research.
- Read more about COVID-19 research across Scotland
- The CSO has published 30 university studies funded in 2020 to support a rapid response to COVID-19.
- Read more about Scotland’s broad portfolio of non-COVID-19 research