We are creating a unified UKRI website that brings together the existing research council, Innovate UK and Research England websites.
If you would like to be involved in its development let us know.

Twelve things we know about Covid-19, thanks to health data research

29/09/2020

Twelve things we know about Covid-19, thanks to health data research

‘Twelve things we know about Covid-19, so far’, published by Health Data Research UK (HDRUK) demonstrates the absolute necessity for timely, secure access to health data across all aspects of the Covid-19, including the effects of the pandemic on care for other conditions such as cancer and heart disease. 

graphic of 12-pointed list

The 12 things we’ve learned so far about COVID-19 from health data research are: 

  1. Around 40 strains of SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus came to the UK, mainly from Europe
  2. Data from millions of COVID Symptom Study app users showed that loss of smell is a key symptom of COVID-19, leading to a change in NHS guidance
  3. Men, older people and those with underlying health conditions, such as heart disease and diabetes, are more at risk of worse outcomes from COVID-19
  4. People from Black, South Asian and minority ethnic groups in the UK are more likely to get COVID-19 and are at greater risk of worse outcomes
  5. Obesity increases the chances of falling seriously ill or being hospitalised with COVID-19, even for younger people
  6. Pregnant women aren’t at greater risk from severe COVID-19 overall, although Black and ethnic minority women and those with underlying health problems are more likely to be hospitalised
  7. COVID-19 outbreaks are more likely in large care homes, especially those with lower staffing levels  
  8. Children and young people become less seriously ill with COVID-19 than adults, and severe disease is rare
  9. The RECOVERY trial showed that the drug dexamethasone cuts deaths by up to a third in severely ill COVID-19 patients while hydroxychloroquine and the antiviral combination lopinavir-ritonavir don’t help - health data was a vital part of the trial 
  10. Young people have suffered most with mental health issues, such as anxiety, during lockdown
  11. There could be between 7,000-18,000 additional cancer deaths in the next year directly and indirectly due to COVID-19
  12. Around 5,000 heart attack sufferers might have missed out on life-saving hospital treatment as a result of the pandemic

Much of the data is now available to find and request access to via the Health Data Research Innovation Gateway. This is a new online portal allowing researchers to find detailed information about nearly 500 datasets held by organisations across the UK including members of the UK Health Data Research Alliance - a collaborative group of 33 major health, care and research organisations including NHS trusts, charities, institutes and registries.

And now, Health Data Research UK will be hosting a free online public event on Friday, 2 October at 12.30pm. The event will bring together people from the UK health data research community to talk about the work that’s been done so far to understand COVID-19 across the UK population, and to highlight the importance of including all groups in society in health data research for COVID-19 and beyond. 

Graphic of 8-pointed list

The UK’s health data research effort in response to the COVID-19 pandemic has been unprecedented in its scale and scope, including: 

  1. 110 health data research questions prioritised by the National Health Data Research COVID Response Team
  2. 56 million GP records made safely and securely available for essential COVID-19 research and response
  3. More than 4.2 million users of the COVID Symptom Study app, revealing new symptoms and regional hotspots - the study data is securely accessible through the Health Data Research Innovation Gateway
  4. More than 48,000 SARS-CoV-2 viral genomes analysed by the COG-UK Consortium
  5. More than 12,000 patients from 176 NHS hospitals enrolled in the RECOVERY COVID-19 treatment trial
  6. 80,000 patients recruited into the ISARIC-4C study, finding out how COVID-19 is affecting people across the UK
  7. More than 3,900 people in the GenOMICC study, investigating how individual genetic makeup affects the severity of COVID-19 symptoms
  8. 62 volunteers in Health Data Research UK’s Patient Advisory Group, providing vital input into COVID-19 research plans

Please sign up to our weekly newsletter to keep up to date:

Share: