The data collected by RCHT and others will be compared to that from a further 15,000 COVID-19 patients who experienced only mild symptoms. This data will be collected from participants in the 100,000 Genomes Project and UK Biobank.
This ground-breaking research may help explain why some patients with COVID-19 experience a mild infection, others require intensive care and why for some it is sadly fatal. By discovering why some people are predisposed to developing life-threatening symptoms, the initiative will enable novel insights into the virus, as well as possible human factors that influence the effects of the disease, and whether a combination of both shape outcomes for NHS patients.
RCHT has already recruited its first patients into the GenOMICC study.
Dr Mike Spivey, Consultant in Intensive Care & Principal Investigator at RCHT said: “It is a privilege for us at RCHT to be involved in this exciting research into COVID-19. We strive to participate in research that looks to improve the care and safety of our patients. GenOMICCs will help us understand the variability in this devastating disease, as we continue to care for the people of Cornwall.”
Dr Kenneth Baillie, Chief Investigator on the GenOMICC study, said: “Our genes play a role in determining who becomes desperately sick with infections like COVID-19. Understanding these genes will help us to choose treatments for clinical trials. The GenOMICC study has been running since 2016, and has been investigating genetic factors that impact how patients fare in response to a number of severe illnesses. Since the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak, and with the tremendous support of the UK critical care community, the study has expanded and accelerated enormously, and we are now recruiting in over 170 ICUs across the country. I am delighted to be working with Royal Cornwall Hospital to deliver this important work.”
Chris Wigley, CEO of Genomics England said: “NHS Trusts are absolutely vital to the national response to this terrible pandemic, so I am extremely glad that Royal Cornwall Hospital has joined our efforts to gain new insights into how this virus affects us. With their help, and with the support and understanding of thousands of patients and their families, we hope we will be able to build identify treatments which have the best chance of success in clinical trials, and build on the work of the 100,000 Genomes Project to develop strong infrastructure for the future.”