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Southmead researchers’ crucial role in hunt for coronavirus vaccine

By martin booth, Tuesday Apr 7, 2020

A team at Southmead Hospital is working with researchers across the UK in an attempt to find a cure for the coronavirus.

With no known treatment currently being available for the disease, research is crucial.

Dr Becca Smith, head of research & innovation at North Bristol NHS Trust (NBT), heads up a dedicated Covid-19 research team at Southmead.

Working with their pathology and pharmacy colleagues, they are giving as many patients as possible the opportunity to join in the research.

They are currently running a number of trials looking at different treatments for Covid-19.

Dr Smith said: “The disease infects so many different people from so many different patient populations that we’re currently looking at different treatment options for different patients so we can make sure we get the best care across all different groups.

“We’re also looking at the impact of infection during pregnancy on both mother and infant, and we’re looking at improving diagnostics opportunities across the patch as well.

“We’re really proud of the commitment we have shown within this organisation to supporting this research during this difficult time and I’m happy that we’re going to be part of the answer to these questions.”

The 300-bed temporary hospital currently being built at UWE Bristol’s Frenchay campus to provide hundreds of extra beds if local services need them during the peak of coronavirus will be operated by Dr Smith’s colleagues at NBT.

Known as the Nightingale Hospital Bristol, it will be run by nurses, doctors, managers and other staff from different NHS organisations across the South West.

It will serve as a support hospital across the South West but it will be formally hosted by NBT on behalf of the region.

Main photo: Becca Smith / Twitter

Read more: 9 ways Bristol’s research and teaching has helped shape the NHS

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