The Patient and Public Involvement (PPI) panel met virtually in December for a slightly longer meeting to reflect and review their activities from 2020. Sophia Co-Chaired in great style, following the agenda and allowing time for questions and discussion.
Paul Moss, UK-CIC Co-Chair, joined the meeting to reflect on the progress the consortium has made in its first four months. He described how in that time remarkable advances have been made in COVID-19 research both inside and outside UK-CIC. Paul felt that the UK-CIC has made a great scientific impact so far, providing many insights into the mechanisms of severe disease and many interesting studies currently going through the peer review process. The PPI panel wanted to ensure that all published work from the UK-CIC would include a summary of the research in plain language.
In light of recent events, Paul also emphasised that although the development and rollout of vaccines was not within the remit of UK-CIC, the consortium is an important source of expertise for those directly involved with vaccines to understand how our body responds to COVID-19.
To ensure the PPI panel’s involvement in the project is as impactful as possible, time was taken to discuss and review the panel’s feedback from the previous meetings. Aspects that are working well as well as potential areas for improvement were considered. The panel agreed that everyone was feeling heard and that there was always good time for discussion. The panel then discussed ideas on how to better capture the impact of PPI in UK-CIC. The importance of highlighting both the presence of the PPI panel as well as the meaning of PPI to the general public on the website emerged as a key action point. It was also decided by the panel that it would be useful to collect more information on member’s individual interests and expertise within the panel.
Paul Lehner, UK-CIC Theme 5 Lead spoke to the panel about the ongoing research in Theme 5 which is aiming to understand how SARS-CoV-2 hides from the immune system. Paul L described the progress of COVID-19 infection viewed from the level of the virus. He explained why COVID-19 can spread so rapidly undetected in a population through its specific methods of evading our immune response. This knowledge is helping to identify new lines of treatment. A Q&A session followed where it was discussed how looking at exceptional cases can provide useful insights, as we have seen previously in virus research. It was also discussed how research into COVID-19 immunology may have learnings for other areas like autoimmune diseases.
The meeting closed with the panel using the online platform Padlet to give their feedback on the meeting. These comments will be used for further reflections in the future.
Thank you to all the PPI panel members for their contributions and time at the meeting.