View all news

Vital coronavirus research to track frontline NHS staff in Bristol

Press release issued: 6 May 2020

Healthy frontline NHS staff in Bristol will be studied as part of a ground-breaking research project led by infectious disease and immunology specialists from Bristol Royal Hospital for Children and the University of Bristol.

The LOGIC project will monitor 125 healthy frontline NHS staff from the Emergency Department of the Bristol Royal Hospital for Children to inform potential vaccines and treatment.

Researchers will track their symptoms (or lack of), the presence (or absence) of the virus in their mouths and noses and the development (or not) of the protective antibodies in their blood over a three-month period.

The research is being funded initially by Wallace and Gromit's Grand Appeal, the dedicated charity for the children’s hospital as part of the charity's emergency Coronavirus Appeal.

The Grand Appeal has raised an incredible £100,000 through its emergency appeal so far. The funds raised to date have enabled the charity to commit to support the research project as part of the international fight against coronavirus, while continuing to deliver the charity’s vital services.

The study will be carried out by researchers from the University's COVID-19 Emergency Research Group (UNCOVER) in partnership with clinical staff.

While it is widely known that Covid-19 is caused by the virus SARS-CoV-2, there is little understanding about the SARS-CoV-2 infection and the relationship between the symptoms, viral and immune dynamics which is needed in order to inform public health control measures and the development of a vaccine.

Adam Finn, Professor of Paediatrics at the University of Bristol and Honorary Consultant at Bristol Royal Hospital for Children said: "The rapid response of our main charitable funder at Bristol Children’s Hospital, The Grand Appeal has enabled us to set up this important study in record time.

"There has been fantastic buy in from nurses and doctors to help with this research. By monitoring healthy adults this study is going to tell us a lot about how this infection develops and occurs. We want to uncover the details of the disease’s natural history, which isn’t known at present."

The charity's funding will bridge the gap until conventional funding from the UK Government and research funds can be accessed. This enabled the research team to get this time-critical research underway incredibly quickly while the nation was in the peak of this rapidly evolving virus.

Nicola Masters, Director of Wallace & Gromit’s Grand Appeal, said: "Over the years, we have worked arm-in-arm with the Children's Hospital and the University, funding some of the ground-breaking research and projects in development to improve the future for sick babies and children. Now, it's only right that we rise to this challenge and support them in the fight against this invisible enemy.

"We have been astonished by the support we’ve received to date and we can’t thank our supporters enough for their help to get us to the incredible £100,000 milestone. However, the challenge is not yet over with a significant hole in our fundraising income we must continue to raise the vital funds needed to support this project and the services that we operate – and to do so, we need your help."

Further information

About the Wallace & Gromit’s Grand Appeal

Wallace & Gromit’s Grand Appeal is the dedicated Bristol Children's Hospital charity. It runs a multi-million-pound portfolio of investment in partnership with the children’s hospital and its Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at St Michael's Hospital, Bristol.

Bristol Children’s Hospital is a national centre of excellence. It treats over 100,000 patients each year from across the entire South West and South Wales region and is home to some of the most exciting advancements in global paediatric healthcare. Babies, children and young adults with highly complex medical conditions – from rare genetic disorders, neurological conditions and congenital heart disease to traumatic injuries, cancer and kidney disease – are cared for around the clock by leaders in their respective fields. Just like Bristol, the hospital is a hub of innovation, where every day these experts pave the way for sick children through a vast network of research projects with international impact.

It’s thanks to The Grand Appeal the hospital is a pioneer in so many fields today. Through its unique, trailblazing partnership with Aardman Animations, The Grand Appeal has diversified its funding streams to bring in the most advanced medical equipment, including the UK’s first-ever Cardiac Hybrid Theatre in a paediatric setting, an intraoperative 3T MRi Scanner – one of only three in children’s hospitals across Europe – and a ground-breaking neuro-robot, which helps neurosurgeons perform major operations with pin-point precision.

Independently, The Grand Appeal runs two family accommodation facilities – with a third currently in development – and employs over 20 specialist support staff who work on the ground in the hospital to ensure every aspect of hospital life is centred on the wellbeing of the young patients and their families. It also works with the hospital to create a child-friendly environment and a programme of arts, music and play therapies to ensure the very best patient experience.

About the Bristol UNCOVER Group
In response to the COVID-19 crisis, researchers at the University of Bristol formed the Bristol COVID Emergency Research Group (UNCOVER) to pool resources, capacities and research efforts to combat this infection.

Bristol UNCOVER includes clinicians, immunologists, virologists, synthetic biologists, aerosol scientists, epidemiologists and mathematical modellers and has links to behavioural and social scientists, ethicists and lawyers.

Follow Bristol UNCOVER on Twitter or for our website for more information about the University of Bristol’s coronavirus (COVID-19) research priorities.

Edit this page