Covid-19 Research Studies

Royal Surrey is part of the national effort to improve prevention, diagnosis and treatment of coronavirus through research.

We are a study site for 14 Covid-19 research projects, 11 of which have been classified as Urgent Public Health Studies by the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR).

Contact us

To find out more about getting involved in one of our Covid-19 research projects please contact the Research team by emailing


Full title: Clinical Characterisation Protocol for Severe Emerging Infections in the UK

Summary: This study will provide rapid, coordinated clinical investigation of patients with confirmed Covid-19 infection. It will look at how the virus reproduces and is excreted by the body, how the body responds to infection and treatment over time and how the immune system responds. The study has been designed to ensure that as much data as possible is collected and shared rapidly in a format that can be easily added together, tabulated and analysed across many different settings globally. 

More details about the project are available on the NHS Health Research Authority website.

Status: Open to recruitment

Local project lead: Dr Katherine McCullough

Urgent Public Health Study? Yes


Full title: Randomised evaluation of Covid-19 therapy

Summary: This is the world’s largest trial into treatment for Covid-19. It seeks to find treatments that shorten hospital stay, reduce the need for mechanical ventilation and improve survival for people hospitalised with suspected or confirmed Covid-19. Data from the trial are regularly reviewed so that any effective treatment can be identified quickly and made available to all patients.

The study has found that a cheap and widely available steroid, dexamethasone, can cut the risk of death by a third for patients on ventilators. For those on oxygen, it cut deaths by a fifth. It has also ruled out three drugs – Hydroxychloroquine, Lopinavir-Ritonavir, Azithromycin – and Convalescent Plasma as ineffective.

More information about the project is available on the RECOVERY Trial website.

Status: Open to recruitment

Local project lead: Dr Katherine McCullough

Urgent Public Health Study? Yes


Full title: A Randomised, Embedded, Multi-factorial, Adaptive Platform Trial for Community-Acquired Pneumonia

Summary: Community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) is a syndrome where people develop an acute infection of the lungs before being admitted to hospital. Bacterial and viral infections, like Covid-19, are responsible for the vast majority of CAP. In severe cases, this condition requires ICU treatment and presents a substantial risk of death.

When caring for patients with CAP, medics choose from a number of different treatment options. However, they don’t always know which treatment is best as individuals, or groups of individuals, may respond differently. REMAP-CAP aims to help doctors understand which treatments, or combinations of treatments, are most likely to be effective in treating both the Covid-19 infection and its effects on the body.

The study has found that two drugs routinely used to treat arthritis - tocilizumab and sarilumab – can speed recovery and significantly improve the chance of survival for critically-ill Covid patients in ICU. The anti-inflammatory medications, given via a drip, were shown to save an extra life for every 12 patients treated.

More information about the study is available on the REMAP-CAP website.

Status: Open to recruitment.

Local project lead: Ben Creagh-Brown

Urgent Public Health Study? Yes


Full title: SARS-COV2 immunity and reinfection evaluation

Summary: This research is focused on healthcare workers and seeks to determine whether prior infection with Covid-19 provides future immunity to reinfection with existing and emerging variants of the virus. Staff taking part are given regular antibody tests and swab tests.

SIREN has revealed that immunity from past Covid-19 infection lasts longer than previously thought. It found people who have had Covid-19 are protected from catching it again for at least five months (83% rate of protection), but they can still carry and transmit the virus to others.

More information about the study is available on the NHS Health Research Authority website.

Status: Closed to new recruits.

Booking your appointment: If you are already a participant on the SIREN study and can’t make your appointment please cancel and rebook on SWIFTQUEUE, so that somebody else can book your appointment time.

Local project lead: Cheryl Marriott

Urgent Public Health Study? Yes


Full title: CLARITY: impaCt of bioLogic therApy on saRs-cov-2 Infection & immuniTY

Summary: This study is analysing the development of antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes Covid-19) in UK patients with Crohn’s and Colitis, the two main forms of Inflammatory Bowel Disease. It hopes to:

  • provide insights into which people with Crohn's or Colitis are at risk of Covid-19 infection.
  • better understand the impact of Crohn's and Colitis medications on developing protective antibodies against the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
  • build evidence about safer prescribing of immunomodulator and biologic drugs in the Covid-19 era.
  • inform public health policy on vaccination strategies.

Status: Closed to new recruits

Local project lead: Dr Christopher Alexakis,

Urgent Public Health Study? Yes


Full title: Genetics of Susceptibility and Mortality in Critical Care

Summary: The reason some people with Covid-19 are severely ill while others are a-symptomatic is almost certainly, in part, genetic. This study seeks to find the genes that cause some people to be critically ill. This could help the development and prioritisation of treatment for patients. GenOMICC has been recruiting patients since 2016 to study emerging infections including Covid-19. All patients with Covid-19 receiving critical care are eligible for this study.

GenOMICC has discovered five genes associated with the most severe form of the disease and highlighted which existing types of drugs should be prioritised for Covid-19 treatment trials.

More details about the project are available on the GenOMICC website.

Status: Open to recruitment

Local project lead: Ben Creagh-Brown

Urgent Public Health Study? Yes


Full title: Multi-centre EuRopean study of MAjor Infectious Disease Syndromes (MERMAIDS): Acute Respiratory Infections in Adults

Summary: This study seeks to understand why some people become much more ill than others when they have acute respiratory infections. More information about how different people respond to the agents that cause respiratory disease will enable clinicians to better predict how bad the infection is likely to be and to develop personalised treatment plans. This could reduce disease severity and the risk of complications and also reduce the need for hospital admission.

The MERMAIDS ARI study is recruiting adults with mild to severe acute respiratory infection. Researchers are analysing blood samples to observe individual gene activity (the process by which the instructions in our genes are converted into a product, such as a protein) and will compare samples from people with different risk factors. 

More details about the project are available on the NHS Health Research Authority website.

Status: Open to recruitment

Local project lead: Dr Agnieszka Falinska

Urgent Public Health Study? Yes

PRU - Neonatal Complications

Full title: Neonatal Complications of Coronavirus Disease (Covid-19) Study

Summary: There is very little information about how Covid-19 affects mothers and newborn babies and it is not clear how best to care for these patients. This study is focused on collecting information about newborn babies who have coronavirus or who are born to mothers who have tested positive for coronavirus. It aims to improve understanding about:

  • how babies get coronavirus.
  • what happens to babies when their mother has coronavirus.
  • what treatments are effective in helping babies with coronavirus to get better.
  • what happens to babies in the longer term when they have been treated.

More details about the project are available on the NIHR Policy Research Unit in Maternal and Neonatal Health and Care website.

Local project lead: Dr Ben Obi

Urgent Public Health Study? Yes


Full title: Pregnancy and Neonatal Outcomes in Covid-19

Summary: PAN-COVID is a global registry of women with suspected Covid-19 and confirmed SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes Covid-19), which details links to:

  • miscarriage.
  • fetal growth restriction and stillbirth.
  • pre-term delivery.
  • transmission of the virus from mother to baby during the period immediately before and after birth.

By better understanding the impact of SARS-CoV-2 and Covid-19 on mothers and their babies, the project will be able to deliver improved, evidenced-based care to pregnant women during the Covid-19 pandemic.

More information about the study is available on the PAN-COVID website.

Status: Open to recruitment

Local project lead: Miss Caroline Everden

Urgent Public Health Study? Yes


Full title: COVID-OR2 – An Observational study of Risk & Recovery in the COVID-19

Summary: This multi-centre study aims to increase our understanding of the process of recovery from critical illness due to COVID-19. It will report on different hospitals’ rehabilitation programmes, longer-term outcomes (physical, pulmonary and renal function, quality of life, psychometric tests), and the needs and experiences of survivors and their families.

Status: Open to recruitment

Local project lead: Sarah Gregory

Urgent Public Health Study? Yes

UKOSS: Pandemic Influenza in Pregnancy

Full title: Maternal and Perinatal Outcomes of Pandemic Influenza in Pregnancy

Summary: The study uses the UK Obstetric Surveillance System (UKOSS) to collect information about all pregnant women admitted to hospital who are confirmed to have Covid-19. The study will describe incidence, management and outcomes of Covid-19 in pregnancy and identify factors associated with better outcomes for women and their babies, addressing therapeutic management and safety of medicines to treat Covid-19 during pregnancy and breastfeeding.

Status:  Open to recruitment

Local project lead: Ms Georgina Black

Urgent Public Health Study? Yes

NCCID (National COVID-19 Chest Imaging Database)

Led by NHSX, the NCCID is a collaborative effort with the British Society of Thoracic Imaging (BSTI), Royal Surrey NHS Foundation Trust and Faculty, a London-based AI specialist.

Summary: THE NCCID is used by hospitals and universities across the country who are using the images to track patterns and markers of Covid illness. The database aims to speed up diagnosis of Covid-19, leading to a quick treatment plan and greater understanding of whether the patient may end up in a critical condition.

Royal Surrey NHS Foundation Trust led the way in creating and sharing research imaging databases that have enabled the development of AI tools, and has specialised in the evaluation and validation of AI radiology products within a range of specialties supporting their safe deployment into the clinic. This expertise enabled us to help build the National Covid-19 Chest Imaging Database.

Status: open to recruitment

Local project lead: Dr Mark Halling-Brown

Urgent Public Health Study? No

PICO (Povidone Iodine for COVID-19)

Full title: Pilot study of virucidal activity of povidone-iodine (PVP-I) 0·5% aqueous solution oral/nasal spray and mouthwash in people with COVID-19 and confirmed oral/nasal shedding of SARS-CoV-2 virus.

Summary: This study aims to:

  • test whether the administration of a povidone iodine (PVP-I) nasal spray and mouthwash to Covid-19 sufferers reduces the SARS-CoV-2 viral titres found in saliva and the nose when compared to a water nasal spray and mouthwash.
  • determine the length of time that PVP-I is effective in vivo at reducing the quantity of SARS-CoV-2 virus in saliva.

Status:  Open to recruitment

Local project lead: Dr Justin Kirk-Bayley

Urgent Public Health Study? No

UK Coronavirus Cancer Monitoring Project

Summary: By continually tracking and sharing information about how cancer patients with Covid-19 are responding to treatment, this project aims to learn from every case through the United Kingdom's 86 cancer centres. Ultimately, it is helping clinicians make the best treatment decisions for these patients.

More information is available on the UK Coronavirus Cancer Monitoring Project website.

Status: Open to recruitment

Local project lead: Dr Agnieszka Michael

Urgent Public Health Study? No