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Bradford professor part of team honoured for Covid trial work


Person in suit on award ceremony red carpet holding up awards

The team behind an innovative clinical trial carried out during the pandemic has won a national award.

The large-scale PRINCIPLE and PANORAMIC clinical trials won the Best Public Sector Innovation category at the Prix Galien UK Awards for the team’s work during Covid.

The team featured Professor Mahendra Patel OBE, a University of Bradford Honorary Visiting Professor, who was the national pharmacy, inclusion and diversity lead on both trials.

The PRINCIPLE and PANORAMIC teams were honoured for their innovative and novel methods of implementation of the trials which accelerated the evaluation of potential Covid-19 treatments.

A group of people in formal dress stand in a line and hold up awards at an awards ceremony

The PRINCIPLE trial, launched in March 2020, evaluated a range of existing, available medicines which could potentially be repurposed to treat Covid-19 in older people and those with underlying health conditions. The findings of PRINCIPLE, which involved more than 11,700 participants across the UK, led to changes in treatment guidelines, potentially saving lives.

Meanwhile, PANORAMIC was developed to assess how effective novel anti-viral treatments were in reducing Covid symptoms and prevent hospital admissions. The trial, which started in December 2021, involved almost 30,000 people. 

Professor Patel was a co-applicant on the PANORAMIC trial, which is known to be the fastest and largest recruiting primary care clinical in the world — recruiting more than 25,000 patients in just over four months.

Both trials were run by the Clinical Trials Unit at Oxford University’s Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences. One of the highlights of the trials was that the participants from across the four nations could join the trial without having to leave their home.

The Prix Galien UK Awards’ Best Public Sector Innovation award category recognises innovations in healthcare developed within, or significantly supported, by the public sector. The category highlights how the work has impacted human health.

A close-up picture of a circular shaped award

Professor Patel said: “I am immensely delighted and proud beyond words to have contributed wherever I could through my role as national pharmacy, inclusion and diversity lead in both the trials to help make a difference to those most likely to be affected by Covid-19.

“They captured the importance of inclusion and diversity to trial participation and achieving parity with national census demographics on many fronts to help ensure the evidence gathered is safe and effective for all populations to benefit from, and not just a select few.

“The trials brought consistent and effective community outreach work to the forefront of representative recruitment of people from ethnically and socio economically diverse communities. 

“Moreover, its highly successful and innovative UK-wide recruitment strategies also proved how community pharmacies, places of worship and religious organisations can be a powerful resource when it comes to effectively reaching out to disadvantaged communities who are often disproportionately affected by poor health and health outcomes.

“It's a monumental team effort and we have to thank all the participants and everyone involved from both behind and in front of the scenes in helping to make a difference to people around the world and not just in the UK.”

Professor Patel was awarded an honorary degree from the University of Bradford in July 2023 and was given an OBE in the 2021 New Year’s Honours for services to pharmacy.

Professor Shirley Congdon, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Bradford, said: “Congratulations to Professor Mahendra Patel and the team for winning this prestigious award. Their work during the pandemic was important and deserves such recognition.

“The trial helped make a difference to people’s lives during a difficult time for everyone.”