The Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust

The contribution of Leeds based healthcare staff and research teams in COVID-19 vaccine trials receives acclaim from Public Health England.

8 March 2021

Researchers based at Leeds Teaching Hospital Trust have been instrumental in research trials to demonstrate the effectiveness of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for COVID-19. Data shared by the Public Health England SIREN study, shows encouraging results that the vaccine is effective from the very first dose. Results from the SIREN study indicated that one dose of the vaccine reduces the risk of COVID-19 infection by over 70%, which rises to 86% after a second vaccine dose.

Hospital staff from a wide range of patient facing and non-clinical roles from Leeds Teaching Hospital Trust, Leeds Community Healthcare NHS Trust and Leeds and York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust took part in the study which started in July 2020.

The study looked at the threat posed to staff in hospitals as they are more likely to be affected by severe COVID-19; with a higher exposure risk and role in transmission of the infection. Healthcare staff who participated in the study and vaccine trials tested themselves for COVID every two weeks, whether or not they had symptoms of COVID-19. Tests were analysed by the research team in Leeds – this enabled test results to be rapidly shared with staff taking part in the study.

Dr Jennifer Murira, lead investigator in the SIREN study at Leeds Teaching Hospital Trust said:

“In Leeds, over 600 healthcare staff took part in this study, which is fantastic. As a result of this incredible response, Public Health England recognised Leeds Teaching Hospital Trust as one of the most successful recruiters to the study. At the Trust, we have created a dedicated team who have worked extremely hard to analyse tests and process the results. The exceptional work of the team is something that we can be proud of.

In particular, Public Health England recognised the success of the Leeds team in recruiting a range of diverse staff groups to the study. This is really important in the SIREN study and our joint work with PHE will continue. This will ensure more people can contribute to this important research.”

The work of the research team in Leeds and their contribution to the SIREN study supported the development of the government’s roadmap out of the current lockdown in England. The SIREN study has given research teams across the world a better understanding of how infection in COVID-19 works, which is crucial to enabling joined up working, and dealing with new variants.