The Midlands is ideally placed to face the future challenges of COVID-19, including long COVID, rehabilitation and returning to work.”

A new report – Mobilising Research Excellence in the Midlands to Tackle COVID-19 (published Friday, January 15 2021) reveals that the Midlands has moved swiftly to apply its wealth of capability in its hospitals, businesses and universities, including the University of Warwick, to deliver £90m of research to support regional, national and global efforts to tackle the Coronavirus Pandemic.

The report highlights that:

  • Experts in the Midlands are leading 81 new COVID-19 research programmes.
  • The region is playing a crucial and integral role in the world-leading genome sequencing consortium which is identifying the strains of COVID-19 recently in the UK and internationally.
  • The Midlands has used its internationally leading research excellence and clinical trials infrastructure to recruit over 50,000 patients to COVID-19 clinical trials, driving the discovery of new treatments and scientific insights.
  • The region has successfully bid for £45m of funding enabling the delivery of £90m of cutting-edge COVID-19 related research.
  • The region was at the forefront of the early detection of the heightened risks of COVID-19 to the country’s Black and Ethnic Minority population and bringing this to clinical attention.

The volume of research projects and clinical trials that the Midlands is not just involved in, but in many cases leading, is exceptional. During the pandemic, the region’s outstanding clinical trials investigators and infrastructure have worked with national organisations to streamline processes and have delivered complex and adaptive clinical trial designs, exceptional recruitment levels and high-quality execution at speeds that were previously thought to be impossible. By combining this with the ability to leverage expertise, integrated with local infrastructure and community engagement, the region now hosts a world-class COVID-19 clinical trials environment, delivering nationally-leading patient recruitment that have recruited over 15% of all UK patients who are taking part in COVID-19 trials. Over 50,000 patients have been recruited by 542 sites in the region, participating in 46 COVID-19 clinical research trials.

The Midlands Life Science community, made up of over 1,200 companies, including the country’s highest number of medical technologies companies and supporting over 30,000 jobs, has played a key role in the national effort against COVID-19. The Midlands is ideally placed to tackle the coronavirus, with the largest number of Life Science companies outside London and the South East, a globally representative population engaged with research, and a fully-integrated clinical research infrastructure.

The region is also driving the sector internationally, not least because of the world-class Midlands universities, seven of which have Medical Schools. These are all working to promote strong collaboration between academia, industry and health. A prime example of this collaboration is the University of Oxford / AstraZeneca UK vaccine, which is being manufactured by Cobra Biologics on Keele University’s Science and Innovation Park.

Midlands Innovation Health (MIH) aims to deliver improved health and regional growth by coordinating and combining the collective excellence available in the seven research intensive Medical and Healthcare Universities in the Midlands (Aston, Keele and Loughborough Universities and the Universities of Leicester, Nottingham and Warwick).

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