Coronavirus microbe

Our response to Covid-19

Research has a crucial role in understanding more about Covid-19, how to tackle it and the longer-term impact this pandemic will have on communities.

Clinical and research staff across the NCA have responded quickly to this unprecedented situation and we  have 12 important research studies open across our sites, with more to follow.

Among them are studies that have been classified as national priorities, including the RECOVERY trial testing potential treatments and an observational study backed by Oxford University collecting samples and data to help with clinical characterisation.

Locally, we have begun a Covid-19 sub-collection as part of the NCA Research Collection, which is collecting blood samples from infected patients to help identify early on those who are going to become severely unwell so they can be taken to intensive care units in good time.

We are also contributing to studies looking at staff well-being during the outbreak.

Our research staff are prioritising Covid-19 studies and recruitment to other research has been suspended to free up staff to support clinical colleagues.

Support for Covid-19 research

Our Research Management and Support (RM&S) Team are prioritising work on Covid-19 research, in line with guidance from the National Institute for Health Research and the Department of Health and Social Care.

A statement has been issued to all research sponsors regarding our current processes surrounding COVID-19 activity.  Please contact with any queries regarding research studies or general R&I policy. The RM&S Team are answering emails but ask for your patience if your question is not answered immediately.

Patients in other research studies
We have paused recruitment and non-essential follow-up to non-Covid-19 research studies, while prioritising Covid-19 studies and other trials where interruption may compromise the safety or health of vulnerable patients. This is temporary and studies will be resumed when it is safe and appropriate to do so.

Participants’ safety is our overriding priority. If you are currently taking part in a research study and have any concerns about how this will affect you, please contact a member of your study team. You will find their details on your study information sheet.

Our Covid-19 studies
Key studies include


Potential treatments

  • A study testing some of the potential therapeutic treatments that have been suggested. You can read more about the RECOVERY trial on its dedicated website.
  • The RECOVERY-RS trial is comparing the effectiveness of three ventilation methods.
  • The REMAP-CAP adaptive trial evaluating potential treatments.


Staff well-being

  • An international survey exploring the psychological impact of coronavirus, its effect on our emotions, behaviour and wellbeing



  • A study aiming to identify genetic variants associated with susceptibility to and mortality from Covid-19.


Emergency triage

  • An observational study using routine electronic data capture from people using the emergency care system (via 111 and 999 calls, ambulance or hospital emergency departments) to identify the most accurate triage method for predicting severe illness.


Sample collections

  • A sub-collection of the Northern Care Alliance Research Collection, with blood samples being used to help identify early on which patients are going to become severely unwell so they can be taken to intensive care units in good time.
  • A protocol enabling data and biological samples to be collected in a globally harmonised manner and used for coordinated clinical investigation of suspected or confirmed cases of Covid-19.
The NCA efforts are part of a wider Greater Manchester response harnessing the power of staff at the Northern Care Alliance, Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust and The University of Manchester.

The new Rapid Response Research Group is backed by Health Innovation Manchester, which accelerates research to improve the health and wellbeing of Greater Manchester’s 2.8m citizens, as well as the NIHR Manchester Biomedical Research Centre and NIHR Manchester Clinical Research Facility.

Prof Steve Woby

The NCA’s Director of Research Operations Professor Steve Woby said: “We face an unprecedented challenge and it is crucial that we fully utilise our collective research expertise and capabilities to limit the spread of Covid-19, minimise the number of lives lost and reduce the impact of the outbreak on our communities.

“Our medical, clinical and research staff are united in their determination to do everything we can to provide the best care and treatment to our patients.

“Research has a key role to play and we are focussing our efforts on improving diagnosis and testing, finding new treatments, developing preventative measures and vaccines, understanding disease mechanisms, and supporting patients, staff and the wider community.”

Professor Ian Bruce, Director of the Biomedical Research Centre, Academic Director of Health Innovation Manchester, and a Professor of Rheumatology at the Kellgren Centre, said: “The speed at which our scientific community has stepped up to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak is outstanding and a testament to Greater Manchester’s strong clinical-academic leadership and research assets.

“Research has a significant role in understanding more about this new disease, how to tackle it and the longer-term impact this pandemic will have on communities.”

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