The Patient and Public Involvement (PPI) panel met in February for what proved to be a very productive two-hour virtual meeting. Adrienne was a skilled co-chair, ensuring there was plenty of time for interesting discussion.
Tracy Hussell, UK-CIC Theme 1 lead from the University of Manchester was welcomed to the panel to give an update on the ongoing research in Primary Immunity. Her engaging presentation explained the main research questions that Theme 1 is addressing. Tracy described how they have established a cohort of patients with COVID-19 in which the immune response to infection is being followed over a long period of time. This is enabling researchers to characterise the course of infection and develop models to predict which patients will develop more severe disease. She highlighted the diversity of this cohort, explaining how it will provide insights into the influence of factors like age and underlying health conditions on COVID-19 severity.
There were a number of interesting discussions during the Q&A session that followed Tracy’s presentation. The importance of including not only hospitalised patients, but also symptomatic patients from the community in research cohorts was discussed. The panel highlighted the relevance of recording qualitative data related to quality of life as well as quantitative data. Also, the benefits of PPI input when formulating research questions in the early stages of research projects emerged as another key topic. The panel agreed that the work in Theme 1 to understand if patient’s prior medications or health conditions affected their response to vaccinations was extremely valuable.
Paul Moss, UK-CIC Co-Chair, gave an overview of UK-CIC to date. As the consortium reaches its six-month milestone, Paul said that it has become very clear in recent weeks that a remarkable, collaborative community has been established that is producing high quality research and aligning with public health concerns. He discussed how each research theme has been able to respond to recent advances in vaccinations, therapeutics and ‘long COVID’ while staying focused on the initial aims of the consortium.
Following on from the panel’s excellent suggestions at the January meeting, the panel worked with Jennie Evans, Head of External Affairs at the BSI, to finalise a shortlist of ideas for public engagement events around the recently announced UK-CIC Virtual Scientific Conference and for PPI involvement within the conference. The panel will be continually involved with the development and delivery of these activities.
The meeting closed with the panel giving feedback through the online platform Padlet. These comments will be reflected upon during the next PPI panel meeting in March to continuously improve how PPI is embedded within UK-CIC.
Thank you to all the PPI panel members for their insightful contributions and time at the meeting.