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NIHR suspends non-Covid-19 studies to focus on coronavirus

The Association of Medical Research Charities described the move as the ‘right decision’

A decision by the largest funder of health research in the UK to pause research at NHS and social care sites to enable more focus on the coronavirus has been welcomed by a group representing major medical research charities.

In a statement published on 19 March, the National Institute for Health Research said its Clinical Research Network was pausing the setup of any new or ongoing studies that are “not nationally prioritised Covid-19 studies”.

“This will enable our research workforce to focus on delivering the nationally prioritised Covid-19 studies or enabling redeployment to frontline care where necessary,” the institute said.

Reacting to the news, Aisling Burnand, chief executive of the Association of Medical Research Charities, said it was the “right decision to focus efforts and resources on Covid-19”.

“We know that this decision has not been taken lightly, and has been made with an appreciation of the significant impact it will inevitably have in all areas of research.”

She added: “The decision to suspend clinical trials, if doing so does not endanger the patient, will have a significant impact on participating patients and their families. We ask that decisions on each trial are made with that impact on patients in mind. These decisions need to be proportionate, and communicated transparently and sensitively.”