Research from University College London published in PLOS One estimated that at the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, clinical research capacity may have been slashed by up to 87% in England.

The researchers estimated that at a population infection rate of 10% (the peak in April for over a month) less than 400 of the 3,200 (13%) full-time clinical academics in England would be available to carry out any research.

“The urgent need for clinicians to be on the frontline at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic is likely to have resulted in major shortages of clinical academics (doctors with combined roles in medical care and research),” said lead author, Dr Amitava Banerjee (UCL Institute of Health Informatics).

“A major part of the global response to COVID-19 continues to be the research response, whether clinical trials of new treatments and vaccines, or epidemiologic studies of at-risk populations in intensive care units. Clinical academics are vital to this research effort and “translating” discoveries to patient care.”

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