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Student Champions from the University of Bolton who have helped to recruit volunteers through community outreach work for the world’s largest trials to treat Covid-19 have been congratulated for their hard work.

A photograph of Mahendra and a number of the University of Bolton students helping to support PANORAMIC.
Prof Mahendra Patel thanking students for their help at the the University of Bolton

The celebration was held to mark the PANORAMC Trial, run by the University of Oxford, reaching the 10,000 volunteer milestone in under 12 weeks.

Professor Mahendra Patel, who is working as a national lead on two trials, PRINCIPLE and PANORAMIC, with the University of Oxford and its Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences, visited the University to congratulate the student champions on their excellent efforts.

He told them at a specially arranged ceremony to mark the 10,000 volunteer achievement: “We at the Trials Unit at the University of Oxford want to thank you for your incredible support with PANORAMIC and PRINCIPLE, and we are all hugely proud of you and your efforts.

“You have helped to create a community and public health initiative that is a precedence in many ways in terms of reaching out to under-served and ethnically diverse communities.”

The University of Bolton has been closely working with and supporting Oxford University’s UK-wide innovative PRINCIPLE Trial to help raise awareness of the development of treatments in the fight against Covid-19 in the community since early 2021.

The team of student advocates were trained by Professor Patel through virtual meetings and assembled to help enlist volunteers from the Bolton community and the wider Greater Manchester area to take part in the studies.

The students, wearing branded promotional hoodies, have spread the message using flyers and video content in 12 languages amongst the local communities with information on how to enrol and to take part. 

They have reached out to locations on campus, local shopping malls, sports venues, vaccination centres and the Trafford Centre in Manchester.

The University has extended its support to the recently introduced Panoramic Trial, the latest Government priority trial run by the University of Oxford, which aims to find new anti-viral treatments for people with Covid-19.

Prof Mahendra Patel thanking students for their help at the the University of BoltonProf Mahendra Patel thanking students for their help at the the University of BoltonProfessor Patel said: “The PANORAMIC Trial is the fastest and largest recruiting clinical trial in primary care in the world.

“This means that you, as University of Bolton outreach champions, have all played an important and significant role in two of the world’s largest clinical trials by going out and raising awareness in the community in the search for the early and effective treatment for Covid-19 symptoms for those more likely to become seriously ill if affected by the virus.

“Bolton may be setting a trend I feel for other universities to perhaps explore and develop as a model through their own communities in supporting public health.

“The University of Bolton has shown tremendous commitment and dedication. I and the trial team at Oxford are all extremely grateful to everyone involved, not least our students.”

Zubair Hanslot, Provost of the University of Bolton, said: “We are delighted to continue to support Professor Patel and the team at the University of Oxford – it is extremely important that we find a solution to this virus through treatment as quickly as possible .

“We are very proud that our student advocates are from diverse backgrounds and speak many languages between them.

“The work reflects how the University is well placed to reach out to the wonderfully diverse ethnic demographic of both the University of Bolton and the town of Bolton. This has undoubtedly resulted in community outreach to underserved communities in Bolton, which have been particularly affected by the pandemic.

“We are all very proud of our student champions.”

One of the champions, Ankita Shinde, a Master’s student at Bolton, said: “I have really enjoyed spreading awareness about the trials and asking people to tell others even if they don’t get involved themselves.”

Further information about the PRINCIPLE Trial and the collaboration between the Universities of Bolton and Oxford, please visit: www.bolton.ac.uk/covid-trial

The PANORAMIC Trial is different to the PRINCIPLE Trial, in that it requires patients who has tested positive in the past five days. Subjects also need to be over 50 or be over 18 with underlying health conditions.

Both primary care trials aim to find treatments for COVID-19 for people at most risk of serious illness.

Investigators are looking for medicines that can help people with symptoms of the virus to recover at home, get better quickly and prevent them from needing to go to hospital.

The partnership has also been backed by the Department of Public Health locally.