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The Midlands has a pivotal role in helping the UK to defeat the coronavirus pandemic

As the country continues to grapple with the coronavirus, a group of regional MPs, government department representatives and leading figures from the Midlands’ Life Sciences sector (including industrial and academic experts) has heard that the Midlands can have a key role in helping national efforts to tackle the coronavirus.

That was the message at the recent launch of a new report outlining the combined pandemic efforts of Midlands Innovation Health partners, the region’s hospitals, and life sciences businesses. The report - Mobilising Research Excellence in the Midlands to Tackle COVID-19 - reveals the Midlands has moved swiftly to deliver nearly £100m of key research in 2020 to support regional, national and global efforts to tackle the pandemic. Read the full story here.

The key areas where the Midlands could lead national pandemic efforts are:

Leading nationally the study and treatment of long COVID.
With the National Rehabilitation Centre (NRC) in Leicestershire paired with expertise of Midlands Innovation Health partners, the region has the best opportunity to study and treat Long Covid. With an investment of £20m the NRC can be resourced to rehabilitate patients who have suffered from COVID-19, getting them back into work rapidly (following the Ministry of Defence’s DNRC model which achieves seven times faster returns than found in civilian care).

Delivering clinical trials at scale and pace to support the next generation of vaccines.
The vast clinical trials infrastructure capability on the Midlands, which includes the recently funded Patient Recruitment Centre in Leicester, is supported by a collaborative approach to delivery. We have an impressive track record of high recruitment figures and hope to be where the next generation of COVID-19 vaccines can be trialled and tested for groups which can’t have the current vaccines – i.e. pregnant women, paediatrics and young people.

Designating and funding the Midlands to become the UK’s Life Sciences Manufacturing Hub.
The Midlands is the UK’s manufacturing heartland which, when combined with the Life Sciences and Medical Technologies expertise in the region.  The Midlands is the ideal home for the UK’s Life Sciences Manufacturing Hub supporting the Government’s levelling up agenda, creating new jobs and supporting the region’s post-pandemic economic recovery.

Professor Sudhesh Kumar OBE, Convener of Midlands Innovation Health and Dean of Medicine at the University of Warwick, said: “We would like to thank all of those who attended the report launch, as well as the co-authors of the report, the Midlands Health Alliance and Medilink Midlands, and Midlands Engine Health for convening the meeting.

“It is clear from the report that the Midlands has the clinical, research and Life Science industry excellence to lead In key areas of the national pandemic efforts and beyond, so our message to Government is that we stand ready in the Midlands to deliver for the country.” 

Midlands Innovation Health (MIH) aims to deliver improved health and regional growth by coordinating and combining the collective excellence available in the seven research-intensive Medical and Healthcare Universities in the Midlands (Aston, Keele and Loughborough Universities and the Universities of Leicester, Nottingham and Warwick).

The Mobilising Research Excellence in the Midlands to Tackle COVID-19 report is co-produced by Midlands Innovation Health, the Midlands Health Alliance and Medlink Midlands (the Midlands Life Sciences Industry Association), and the report launch was organised in partnership with the Midlands Engine Health.  

For recordings from the Midlands COVID-19 research report lauch, and to view a video highlighting the COVID research excellence in the region, click here.