National award for LUHFT's research team

Researchers at Liverpool University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (LUHFT) have been presented with a medal by the UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) study group.

The accolade recognises their achievement in recruiting the highest number of patients to the COVID-19 Clinical Neuroscience Study (COVID-19 CNS) part of the COVID-19 section of the NIHR BioResource.

The team recruited 170 patients who had been hospitalised with COVID-19 but had not experienced neurological symptoms to the study. Clinicians then compared the physical response of these patients who had no symptoms, against those who suffered negative effects on brain function.

Suitable patients for the study were identified by clinicians and nursing staff from the NIHR Clinical Research Network. With the patients’ consent, the CNS research team then conducted tests and gathered scientific findings. Patients were monitored for 12 months, attending follow-up appointments to gather a better understanding of how symptoms were developing.

The study was jointly led by the University of Liverpool and King’s College London, with the aim of understanding how best to treat patients who have experienced neurological difficulties after having COVID-19. Symptoms included a decrease in motor functions, such as moving or walking, cognitive functions, such as memory loss, as well as mental health complications.

A multidisciplinary team approach brought together clinical neurologists, psychiatrists, scientist in the field of genetics, neuroimaging and immunologists to tackle the issue and get a better understanding of how patients reacted to the virus during the height of their illness and into recovery.

Dr Sylviane Defres, Consultant in the Tropical and Infectious diseases Unit at the Royal Liverpool University Hospital and Principal Investigator on the COVID-19 CNS Study, said: “It is an honour for the team to be awarded this medal and to be recognised for their hard work and dedication during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The pandemic was a difficult time for everyone, especially those in the NHS treating those ill with the virus. At times, it could be scary not knowing how or why a patient was experiencing neurological symptoms.

“This important research will help us and future generations continue to recover from COVID-19, allowing us to deliver the best and most effective patient care possible.”

This week, LUHFT is celebrating International Clinical Trials Day (20 May 2023). Clinical trials, such as the COVID-19 CNS study, allows health professionals find new and innovative ways to provide patients with best and most effective treatments.

There is research happening in all areas at Liverpool University Hospitals, making a vital difference to patient care.

To get involved, email or sign up directly by filling in the online Consent for Consent form.

The Trust also supports the Research for the Future initiative which provides alternative information about opportunities to take part in research.

Pictured above (L-R): Dr Merna Samuel, Specialty Doctor, Dr Sylviane Defres, Consultant in the Tropical and Infectious diseases Unit at the Royal Liverpool Hospital and Principal Investigator on the COVID CNS Study, Nathalie Nicholas, Senior Research Nurse, LCRN North West Coast, NIHR CRN.