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Pop-up blood donation clinic to open in Preston for new Covid study

Posted on - 19th April, 2021 - 8:00am | Author - | Posted in - Health, Preston News
Prestonians who have had Covid are being urged to help with the study

Scientists have issued an urgent appeal for Prestonians to help a potentially ground-breaking Covid genetic study.

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Scientists need help to identify new treatments, and they need the help of those who have had Covid, but did not need hospital treatment.

To encourage more people to join the study, a temporary centre at the Legacy Preston International Hotel (Marsh Lane, PR1 2YF) will welcome volunteers from Friday.

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If participants do not wish to travel to an appointment, they have the option of booking a home visit with a nurse.

The unique GenOMICC Covid-19 Study analyses the genes of people who have had the virus to discover why some people experience no symptoms, whilst others become extremely unwell.

The study is already contributing to the fight against Covid, with preliminary results helping identify possible new treatments.

For the study to continue, though, scientists need to urgently recruit 2,500 more people from all backgrounds.

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Along with seeking help from members of Preston’s Asian and Black communities, they’re also keen for more men to volunteer.

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Karun Maudgil, Development Officer at CORE (Coalition of Race Equality Organisations) said: “At CORE, we represent a coalition of 27 ethnic minority-led organisations across the UK.

“We welcome the pop-up donation centres, in that they will provide greater clarity as to why members of the ethnic minority communities we represent, who were disproportionately impacted in terms of Covid-19 infection, hospitalisation and death rates, experienced varying degrees of
symptoms – ranging from asymptomatic to fatal.”

The genetic research project has been enthusiastically embraced in Scotland, Wales, Bradford and Slough when similar pop-up centres were opened, and with life in Preston beginning to return to a sense of normality, organisers are hoping for a similar response.

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The project’s local principal investigator Alexandra Williams from the Royal Preston Hospital said: “This study has one key objective – to help us understand why Covid has impacted different groups in different ways.

“Sadly, a disproportionate number of people who ended up in hospital have Asian and Black heritage, and that’s why we need people from these communities to join the study as soon as possible to help us discover new ways of beating the virus.”

Dr Kenneth Baillie, the study’s Chief Investigator said: “We’re appealing for more volunteers from all walks of life and in particular for people from ethnic communities to come forward and register.

“We need to find people who tested positive for Covid but experienced either mild or no symptoms and didn’t require hospital treatment.

“To maximise the study’s potential, it’s important that these volunteers are similar in age, gender and ethnicity of those people who were severely affected and hospitalised.”

The research project is open to anyone who tested positive for Covid-19 but experienced mild or no symptoms and didn’t require hospital treatment.

Volunteers can register online here.

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Will you be participating in this study? Let us know in the comments below.

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