In the light of the COVID-19 pandemic, CMR departments are closing to all but emergency scans, with clinicians re-deployed to ward and critical care cover. The need for high quality research is however greater than ever, and barriers are being broken down to deliver this.
At Barts Heart Centre and UCL in London the team (led by Professor James Moon) are leading an international study in collaboration with Professor Ntobeko Ntusi at University of Cape Town to understand the immunological and genetic factors determining COVID-19 disease severity. Data and samples are collected weekly from healthcare workers over the next 16 weeks, the majority of whom will be exposed and of whom a proportion will develop severe disease. The over 50,000 samples that this will generate will be disseminated worldwide to the best scientists for further analysis to enable novel insights into the disease.
The rules have had to be re-written - the time from study design to first participant recruited was only 10 days and funding is being obtained from crowdfun
ding. Enthusiasm by the research teams and participants has been inspiring -
200 participants so far in 2.5 days. All of us are being asked to re-invent ourselves in ways we hadn’t predicted but the CMR community remains vital to the effort.