COVID-19 research

*This page has now been archived. Some of the projects listed below have been completed and publications are in the public domain. Some are ongoing. If you would like information about any of the projects listed, please contact Thank you.*

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we are prioritising research to improve our understanding of coronavirus, how it spreads, how it affects different populations, how it can best be managed in the community, and how primary health care services can and should respond.

We are working with local and national partners, as well as with experts in epidemiology, infectious disease transmission, mathematical modelling, vaccination, social sciences and public health from across the University of Bristol.

Read the 23 March 2020 statement 'COVID-19 impact and response' by Professor John Macleod and Dr Katrina Turner, joint Heads of the Centre for Academic Primary Care (CAPC).

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This is a summary of COVID-19 research projects led by or involving researchers from the Centre for Academic Primary Care (CAPC), at the University of Bristol. 

Active Pleisure in Lockdown: Exploring the effects of COVID-19 on physical activity, mental health and environmental engagement in Bristol and its surrounding areas (Martin Hurcombe and Melanie Chalder). Funded by Research England.  Start date: 1 December 2020.  End date: 31 March 2021.

Adherence to, and impact of, self- and supported-isolation: Assess factors associated with adherence to guidelines to self-isolate when ill, when returning to the UK from abroad, and staying at home when well. (Oliver, Lambert, Hickman, Yardley, Amlôt, Rubin, James, Zhang, Lasseter) Funder: BSEUKRI (£400,000). 

Air Filtration to reduce Respiratory Infections (including COVID-19) in care homes: the AFRI-c cluster randomised controlled trial with nested internal pilot, process and economic evaluations. Alastair Hay, Ruth Kipping, Derren Ready, Emily Henderson, Gemma Morgan, Michael Jenkins, Nicholas Turner, Rebecca Kandiyali, Tomas Welsh, Dominic Mellon, Jane Sprackman, Karen Sargent, Chris Metcalfe. Funder: NIHR. Start-end dates: 01/07/2021-31/12/2024.

A mixed methods evaluation of advice on isolation and health-seeking to contain transmission. (Oliver, Lambert, Hickman, Yardley, Amlôt, Rubin, Zhang). Funder: UKRI (£400,000). Start-End dates: 30/3/2020-29/09/2021

Avon Community Acquired Pneumonia General Practice Study, Part 1 (AvonCAP GP1). (Polly Duncan, Adam Finn, Alastair Hay). Funder: Sponsored by the University of Bristol and funded by Pfizer. Start-end dates: April to October 2021. 

Avon Community Acquired Pneumonia General Practice (AvonCAP GP2) studyDuncan P, Finn A, Hyams C, Danon L, Dawson S, Davis T, Christensen H and Hay AD. Pfizer (2021-2023)

Bristol UNCOVER (Bristol COVID Emergency Research) Group: A group of Bristol researchers united to collaborate on finding ways to overcome the disease. (Led by Adam Finn and includes various other researchers). Funder: N/A. Ongoing

Care of housebound patients in primary care (The CHIP study): Characterising older housebound patients and delivery of general practice care pre and post-COVID-19: A proof of concept study using the Primary care Academic CollaboraTive (PACT) model (Duncan et al.). Funder: RCGP SFB. Starts September 2020.

Diagnosis and management of infectious disease in primary care during the COVID-19 lockdown: changes in antibacterial and antiviral use. Funder: Elizabeth Blackwell Institute Rapid Response COVID-19 scheme £4,500. 

Effectiveness, acceptability and impact of public health advice during the containment and delay phases of the COVID-19 responseMixed methods assessment of advice to self-isolate or social distance in terms of its acceptability, adherence and impact on health and wellbeing. (Oliver, Rubin, Robin, Reynolds, Amlôt, Yardley, Hickman, Lambert, Zhang, Cai). 

Effects of lockdown and changes in delivery of care on opioid dependent individuals. Natural experiment using mixed methods to investigate the effects of changes in primary care associated with lockdown on morbidity and mortality in opioid dependent individuals. (Scott, Macleod, Hickman). Funder: Elizabeth Blackwell Institute and NIHR.

Epidemiology of COVID-19 in primary careReal-time CCG/One Care data. (Duncan, Hay). Co-I: CCG and One Care. 

Examining the effect of social distancing measures on regional variation in the spreading of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in England. (Tammes). Funder: University of Bristol. 

Hot and Cold Hubs project. A review of the use of hot and cold hubs and other face-to-face models of consultation in primary care during COVID-19. (Duncan L., Huntley A., Cheng K.). Funder: N/A. University of Bristol Medical School Year 3 Student Choice project. Ongoing/ Student Choice project 08-06-20 to 03-07-20.

Impact of social distancing advice during the containment and delay phases of COVID-19. Public Health England are evaluating the effectiveness, acceptability and impact of advice to shield in a sample of 300 clinically vulnerable people in the South West. (Spottiswoode, Kenward, Robin, Oliver, Hickman). 

Implementation of a digital behavioural change intervention to improve hand hygiene: evaluation in UK and China of how ‘Germ Defence’ ( can be rapidly adapted and optimised for the COVID-19 outbreak, using novel participatory-co-design methods. (Yardley, et al). Funder: UKRI (£200,000).

Mass antibody testing programme evaluation. Evaluate point of care (POC) anitibody test kits to assess accuracy in the population, and understand the usability and feasibility of the home-based roll out of the programme (Oliver, Mulchandani, Wyllie, Jones, Chartlett, Hickman, Brooks, Taylor-Phillips, Albrow, Ades, Walker).

Mental Health Pathfinder. This pathfinder award has been re-purposed to include a COVID-specific ALSPAC questionnaire to look at effects on mental health in linked data. (Macleod). Funder: Medical Research Council (MRC). 

Optimising the telephone management of people affected or at risk of COVID-19 infection via NHS 111 services. (Barnes). Funder: NIHR School for Primary Care Research. 

Patient and family concerns and priorities for palliative care during the COVID-19 pandemic: a rapid online consultation to hear their missing voices (Pocock). Completed. 

Patients living with dementia who 'walk with purpose or intent' in the COVID-19 crisis. Rapid Evidence Review. (Huntley, Cheston, Corse, Munafo). Funder: NIHR ARC West. Completed.

Primary Care implementation of Germ Defence: A digital behaviour change intervention to improve infection control during the COVID-19 pandemic (Jeremy Horwood, Melanie Chalder, Pippa Craggs, John MacLeod, Paul Little, Ben Ainsworth, Beth Stuart, James Denison-Day, Lucy Yardley,  Mike Moore, Merlin Willcox).  Funded by UKRI and NIHR ARCWest.  Start date: 1 April 2020.  End date:  31 December 2021.  

Primary care response to domestic violence and abuse in the COVID-19 pandemic: interrupted time series and qualitative study (PRECODE). (Feder, Szilassy, Barbosa, Lewis, Griffiths, Dowrick, Panovska-Griffiths). Funder: UKRI-MRC £262,804. Start/end dates: 14/11/2020-14/11/2021.

Rapid COVID-19 Intelligence to improve primary care response (RAPCI)(Murphy, Horwood, Salisbury, MacLeod, Denholm). Funder: NIHR School for Primary Care Research (£40,000.00) Start-End dates: 01/04/2020-31/08/2020

Rapid Covid-19 evidence summaries: A group of Bristol researchers are reviewing evidence to help inform decision-making and to support strategic responses to COVID-19. (Horwood). Co-ordinated by NIHR ARC West.

Rapid review of how health and social care professionals in the community can best support patients’ advance care planning in the context of COVID-19. (Selman, Pocock) 

Reducing the risks from coronavirus transmission in the home - the role of viral load. (Yardley). Analysis published in the BMJ.

REPROVIDE Study - randomised controlled trial to test the effectiveness of a group intervention for men who are concerned about their abusive behaviour in relationships with women. (Feder). Funder: National Institute for Health Research. This study has been awarded Urgent Public health Research National Priority Status during COVID-19.

Review of the public perception of advance care planning during COVID-19, as expressed on Twitter. (Selman, Chamberlain, Pocock).

Roll out of 'Germ Defence' website through GP practices to help reduce coronavirus infections. 

SATS (Self-assessment to support self-care) for COVID-19. Investigating remote monitoring of patient recorded vital signs. (Creavin). Funder: RCF BNSSG CCG Research & Development £39,000. Start/end dates: 1 July 2020 to 1 July 2021.

Social contacts and mixing patterns under COVID19 social distancing measures: Estimating social contacts and mixing patterns in older people under the current social distancing policies in place to address COVID19. (Christensen) Funder: Elizabeth Blackwell Institute (EBI) £3,350.00. Start-End dates: 27/04/2020-31/05/2020

South West Better Care Partnership. Four projects  based on the BNSSG systemwide data set on predicting admission to ICU and subsequent outcomes; reducing antimicrobial resistance; rescheduling elective surgery post disruption; and optimising the interface betwen social care and health care. (Sterne, Macleod). Funder: Health Data Research UK (HDR UK). 

Supporting people bereaved during COVID-19: a mixed methods study of bereaved people's experiences and the bereavement services supporting them (Harrop, Selman (Co-PIs), Longo, Nelson, Byrne, Seddon). Funder: Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC). Start-End Dates: 1/8/2020-31/1/2021    

The demand for home visiting services since the COVID-19 lockdown. A review of the literature. (Duncan, Elwenspoek) Funder: NIHR ARC West and University of Bristol. Completed.

The effects of funeral practices on bereaved friends and relatives' mental health and bereavement: implications for COVID-19. Rapid Evidence Review. (Selman, Burrell). Funder: NIHR ARC West. Completed.

Timing to implement hot and cold sites in primary care. Rapid Evidence Review. (Thom, Watson). Funder: NIHR ARC West. Completed.

Understanding the impact on, and experiences of, young people during the COVID-19 pandemic: Qualitative work to understand the impact on, and experiences of, young people during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. (Fisher, Audrey, Hickman, Yardley, Lambert). Funder: EBI (£4,626). Start-End dates: 01/05/2020-31/12/2020

Use of digital technologies and self-reported loneliness by older individuals self-isolating during COVID-19. (Lasseter, Christensen, Grant, Sauchelli, Toran). Funder: Elizabeth Blackwell Institute (EBI). 

Using linked primary care and viral surveillance data to develop risk stratification models to inform management of severe COVID-19: (Payne, Kontopantelis, Mant, Denholm, Cooper, Forbes, Herbert, Tammes). Funder: NIHR School for Primary Care Research. Start-End Dates: 20/04/2020-20/10/2020

Virtual multidisciplinary team meetings for the older population. Rapid Evidence Review. (Sillero Rejon, McLeod, Huntley). Funder: ARC West. Completed.

Wider collateral damage to children in the UK because of the social distancing measures designed to reduce the impact of COVID-19 in adults. (Crawley). Editorial in BMJ Paediatrics Open. Published.


See the following web pages for COVID-19 related publications by CAPC researchers.

Recruiting studies

Although many of our non-COVID-19 research projects have been put on hold due to the pandemic, some are able to continue and are actively encouraging members of the public to take part. Where possible, these studies will be collecting data to help us understand the impact of the virus.

Patient and public involvement (PPI) in COVID-19 research

PPI meetings and consultations are continuing, despite the current challenges.

PPI input is as valuable now as it always has been. We are continuing to liaise with our PPI contributors, recruit new contributors and engage them in new projects, as well as continuing with existing PPI groups. We are receiving PPI contributions in a variety of ways including:

  • virtual PPI meetings – either by video or teleconference
  • feedback from individual PPI contributors over the phone, or email
  • written email feedback on research ideas, problems and written material.

Julie Clayton and Victoria Wilson, the CAPC PPI co-ordinators, are keeping in touch with contributors with new developments, links to training and project related information. They are continuing to support patient and public involvement in our research by:

  • arranging and supporting PPI meetings
  • writing new guidance materials for PPI work
  • circulating new guidance materials
  • planning future engagement events.

They are also in touch with other PPI leads from the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) School for Primary Care Research and across Bristol, so that they can update contributors and researchers with any new PPI developments and guidance.

Media coverage

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