COVID-19 research projects

As part of the national response to COVID-19 we are pleased to be supporting important research being led locally and nationally to understand more about the infection and its impact.

NHS Trusts are being asked to prioritise research studies that have been badged as urgent public health studies. Below is a list of studies we are currently conducting in response to COVID-19 and how you can get involved. 

The PRIEST Study (Pandemic Respiratory Infection Emergency System Triage)

Sponsored by Sheffield Teaching Hospitals

During a pandemic, more patients attend hospital services and require investigation or admission, which puts a huge strain on the NHS.

The study aims to optimise the triage of people using the emergency care system (111 and 999 calls, ambulance conveyance, or hospital emergency department) with suspected respiratory infections during a pandemic and identify the most accurate triage method for predicting severe illness among patients attending the emergency department with suspected respiratory infection.

Can I take part? If your child attends the Emergency Department and is suspected of having COVID-19 we will collect some anonymised data from clinical records for this study. You can opt out of your child’s information being used by informing the team.

More information:

The What’s The Story Study - Serum Testing of Representative Youngsters

Sponsored by University of Oxford

Sero-epidemiological survey of England in 2019/2020- Serum Testing of Representative Youngsters

Public Health England has an ongoing sero-prevalence programme to assess how well the population is protected from vaccine preventable diseases. The current way to check this is by testing left-over blood samples from different healthcare laboratories around the country and examine them to see what protection they have from vaccine preventable diseases. There are two problems with this system. Firstly samples may not be representative of the general population particularly in younger age groups and secondly we do not know which vaccines the patients who provided the samples have received.

The study will assess the feasibility of establishing a national sero-epidemiological survey in England in individuals aged 0 – 24 years. We will be focusing initially on COVID 19, Diphtheria and Group C invasive meningococcal disease. Each participant will have the study explained to them and if they give consent they will be asked to provide one blood sample and answer a short questionnaire. These samples will then be analysed in a Public Health England laboratory to see if the participant has evidence of immunity against these diseases.

Can I take part? We are currently only recruiting young people who live in S14 and S43 post codes. Letters have been sent to a lot of people already and thanks to those who have responded and subsequently taken part.  If you live in one of these post codes and aged 0-24 please look at the information on the study website below and if you are interested, please email

More information:

GenOMiCC Study - The Genetics of Susceptibility and Mortality in Critical Care

Sponsored by NHS Lothian

This is a research study that looks at the DNA of people with severe infections and injuries. Infectious diseases and severe injuries affect millions of people around the world every year. Most cases are mild, but some people become very unwell and are admitted to intensive care. Our genes (DNA) can determine how much critical illness affects us. We want to find the genes that cause some people to be more sick. If we do, we may be able to develop better treatments for patients in the future. To do this, researchers will compare DNA and cells from carefully selected patients with samples from healthy people.

Can I take part? Only patients admitted to the paediatric intensive and critical care with COVID-19 will be eligible for the study at present.

More information:

The Coronavirus Infection in Primary or Secondary Immunosuppressed Children

Sponsored by University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust

This study is designed to allow families of immunosuppressed children and young people to self-record their experiences of COVID-19 and other viral respiratory illnesses during the COVID-19 epidemic. Parents of immunosuppressed patients and young people aged 16-17 who are immunosuppressed will be provided with online information and asked to fill in online questionnaires at baseline and weekly thereafter. Information collected will include immune-system affecting medication, symptoms, contact with health care providers, test results and impact on daily activities. Data will be collected and analysed weekly to be able to monitor any potential risk factors for severe disease.

Can I take part? Please see the advert below that was posted on the Trust Facebook page. In addition, some people may receive a test message.

Many of you will be concerned about what the current coronavirus epidemic will mean for you and your families, and particularly for children with underlying health problems or medication affecting their immune system. The information available so far shows that children in general have a low risk of developing severe disease from coronavirus, and that this risk is NOT increased for those children who have a condition that make them more vulnerable to infections or are taking medication that affects their immune system . However, we would like to collect further data about such children in order to provide the best possible information to children and families, and to help guide healthcare decisions in the future. We are conducting an online study to monitor children on medication that affects their immune system. If you are interested in taking part please email: and include “immunoCOVID19”, your child’s name and date of birth. We will then send you further information about the study and how to get involved.

More information:

ISARIC- CCP – WHO Clinical Characterisation Protocol for Severe Emerging Infection

Sponsored by University of Oxford

There is an urgent need to conduct coordinated clinical research in the early phase of this dynamic development to know more about this virus and to provide an evidence base to inform treatment decisions and an effective public health response. This study is designed for the rapid, coordinated clinical investigation of patients with confirmed novel coronavirus infection. The study has been designed to maximize the likelihood that as much data as possible is collected and shared rapidly in a format that can be easily analysed across many different settings globally.

The purpose of the CCP-UK is to study COVID-19 disease to better understand its spread and behaviour by analysing biological samples and data from patients with confirmed cases of the disease across the UK.

Can I take part? If you or your child is admitted with covid 19 we will be collecting anonymised information about the admission for this study. We are no longer collecting biological samples (such as blood and urine) so we won’t need to come and speak to you about taking part.

More information:

Randomised Evaluation of COVID-19 Therapy: the RECOVERY trial

Sponsored by University of Oxford

A range of potential treatments have been suggested for COVID-19 but nobody knows if any of them will turn out to be more effective in helping people recover than the usual standard of hospital care which all patients will receive. These treatments have been recommended for testing by the expert panel that advises the Chief Medical Officer in England. Some are tablets and some are injections. Although these treatments show promise, nobody knows if any of them will turn out to be more effective in helping patients recover than the usual standard of care at your hospital (which all patients will receive).

The RECOVERY Trial will begin by testing some of these suggested treatments: 

  • Lopinavir-Ritonavir (commonly used to treat HIV)
  • Low-dose Dexamethasone (a type of steroid, which is used in a range of conditions typically to reduce inflammation).
  • Hydroxychloroquine (related to an anti-malarial drug)
  • Azithromycin (a commonly used antibiotic)
  • Tocilizumab (an anti-inflammatory treatment given by injection)

Data from the trial will be regularly reviewed so that any effective treatment can be identified quickly and made available to all patients. The RECOVERY Trial team will constantly review information on new drugs and include promising ones in the trial.

Can I take part?

You may be also to take part in this trial if you have COVID-19 confirmed by a laboratory test for coronavirus (or considered likely by your doctors), and are in hospital. Patients will not be included if the attending doctor thinks there is a particular reason why none of the study treatments are suitable.

More information

Visit the study website

Psychological impact of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and experience: An international survey

Sponsored by Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust

The aim of this study is to investigate the impact that the COVID-19 outbreak and the current lockdown is having on our emotions, behaviour and wellbeing.

It is hoped that researchers will learn what is helpful for people during this time and also what may be causing some people to be affected more than others in terms of their wellbeing.

Can I take part?

Anyone over the age of 16 with access to be able to complete this online questionnaire can take part. Remember to select Sheffield Children’s when asked how you heard about the study after clicking the link to the study on the Qualtrics website.

More information:

Find out more at the Southern Health NHS website.

Diagnosis and Management of Febrile Illness using RNA Personalised Molecular Signature Diagnosis - DIAMONDS

Sponsored by: Imperial College London

Patients come to hospitals every day with common symptoms, such as fever, which suggest that they have a virus or bacterial infection. However, in some cases there may be no infection present, even though the symptoms are similar – for instance in inflammatory illnesses. When different illnesses have similar symptoms, it can be difficult to make a diagnosis accurately and quickly. This means that optimal treatment may be delayed.

The study team want to design new diagnostic tests based on a blood test that can tell us quickly and accurately what illness a patient has when they come to hospital with common symptoms such as fever. This would help us give the right treatment to the right patient, at the right time.

The study has received urgent public health status and if now focussed on recruiting patients admitted with COVID-19 and other illnesses to understand more about COVID-19.

Can I take part?

If you or your child is admitted to the hospital with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 and having a blood test we will come and talk to you about taking part in this study. Taking part in the study will involve providing some additional samples (such as blood and urine) for research when the tests are already being undertaken by the clinical teams.

More information

Our Research and Innovation Department is dedicated to the development of medicines and treatments for children, and innovating in children’s healthcare is a key priority for the Trust.

Our research strengths cover a wide range of clinical specialties and we are proud to work with some of the country’s leading professionals in paediatric conditions.

The Sheffield Children’s Clinical Research Facility (CCRF) opened in 2008 and was the first paediatric clinical research facility in the UK.


Research and Innovation at Sheffield Children’s NHS Foundation Trust includes the Research Administration and Governance Team and the Clinical Research Facility Team. Together we provide comprehensive assistance to researchers conducting clinical research in our Trust.

We work closely with colleagues in the NIHR CRN: Yorkshire and Humber, regional NHS trusts and our local universities to ensure that we provide a streamlined service for the development, set-up, costing and management of both paediatric and adult research conducted at Sheffield Children’s NHS Foundation Trust.

Health Research Authority

The Health Research Authority and the Government set standards for all NHS organisations to make sure we protect your privacy and comply with the law when we are involved in research. They review all research studies to make sure that the research uses of personal data are in the public interest and meet ethical standards.

NIHR Children’s and Young People’s Med Tech Cooperative

Sheffield Children’s hosts the NIHR (National Institute for Health Research) Children and Young People MedTech Cooperative (NIHR CYP MedTech), a national consortium that supports and accelerates  the development and adoption of child health technology in the NHS. NIHR CYP MedTech is one of the 11 MedTech and In vitro diagnostics Co-operatives (MICs) funded by the NIHR and is the only MIC supporting children and young people. The network supports 7 specialty themes supported by NHS Trusts across the country focussed on addressing unmet health needs with technology solutions. For more information visit​

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