COVID-19 research

Last updated: 11 May 2020

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we are prioritising research to improve our understanding of coronavirus, how it spreads, how it affects different populations, how it can best be managed in the community, and how primary health care services can and should respond.

We are working with local and national partners, as well as with experts in epidemiology, infectious disease transmission, mathematical modelling, vaccination, social sciences and public health from across the University of Bristol.

Read the 23 March 2020 statement 'COVID-19 impact and response' by Professor John Macleod and Dr Katrina Turner, joint Heads of the Centre for Academic Primary Care (CAPC).

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This is a summary of COVID-19 research projects led by or involving researchers from the Centre for Academic Primary Care (CAPC), at the University of Bristol. 

Adherence to, and impact of, self- and supported-isolation: Assess factors associated with adherence to guidelines to self-isolate when ill, when returning to the UK from abroad, and staying at home when well. (Oliver, Lambert, Hickman, Yardley, Amlôt, Rubin, James, Zhang, Lasseter) Funder: BSEUKRI (£400,000). 

A mixed methods evaluation of advice on isolation and health-seeking to contain transmission. (Oliver, Lambert, Hickman, Yardley, Amlôt, Rubin, Zhang). Funder: UKRI (£400,000). Start-End dates: 30/3/2020-29/09/2021

Bristol UNCOVER (Bristol COVID Emergency Research) Group: A group of Bristol researchers united to collaborate on finding ways to overcome the disease. (Led by Adam Finn and includes various other researchers). Funder: N/A. Ongoing

Effectiveness, acceptability and impact of public health advice during the containment and delay phases of the COVID-19 responseMixed methods assessment of advice to self-isolate or social distance in terms of its acceptability, adherence and impact on health and wellbeing. (Oliver, Rubin, Robin, Reynolds, Amlôt, Yardley, Hickman, Lambert, Zhang, Cai). 

Epidemiology of COVID-19 in primary careReal-time CCG/One Care data. (Duncan, Hay). Co-I: CCG and One Care. 

Impact of social distancing advice during the containment and delay phases of COVID-19. Public Health England are evaluating the effectiveness, acceptability and impact of advice to shield in a sample of 300 clinically vulnerable people in the South West. (Spottiswoode, Kenward, Robin, Oliver, Hickman). 

Implementation of a digital behavioural change intervention to improve hand hygiene: evaluation in UK and China of how ‘Germ Defence’ ( can be rapidly adapted and optimised for the COVID-19 outbreak, using novel participatory-co-design methods. (Yardley, et al). Funder: UKRI (£200,000).

Mass antibody testing programme evaluation. Evaluate point of care (POC) anitibody test kits to assess accuracy in the population, and understand the usability and feasibility of the home-based roll out of the programme (Oliver, Mulchandani, Wyllie, Jones, Chartlett, Hickman, Brooks, Taylor-Phillips, Albrow, Ades, Walker).

Patient and family concerns and priorities for palliative care during the COVID-19 pandemic: a rapid online consultation to hear their missing voices (Pocock). 

RAPCI Project: Rapid COVID-19 Intelligence to improve primary care response(Murphy, Horwood, Salisbury, MacLeod, Denholm). Funder: NIHR School for Primary Care Research (£40,000.00) Start-End dates: 01/04/2020-31/08/2020

Rapid Covid-19 evidence summaries: A group of Bristol researchers are reviewing evidence to help inform decision-making and to support strategic responses to COVID-19. (Horwood). Co-ordinated by NIHR ARC West:

Rapid review of how health and social care professionals in the community can best support patients’ advance care planning in the context of COVID-19. (Selman, Pocock) 

Review of the public perception of advance care planning during COVID-19, as expressed on Twitter. (Selman, Chamberlain, Pocock).

Social contacts and mixing patterns under COVID19 social distancing measures: Estimating social contacts and mixing patterns in older people under the current social distancing policies in place to address COVID19. (Christensen) Funder: Elizabeth Blackwell Institute (EBI) £3,350.00. Start-End dates: 27/04/2020-31/05/2020

Understanding the impact on, and experiences of, young people during the COVID-19 pandemic: Qualitative work to understand the impact on, and experiences of, young people during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. (Fisher, Audrey, Hickman, Yardley, Lambert). Funder: EBI (£4,626). Start-End dates: 01/05/2020-31/12/2020

Use of digital technologies and self-reported loneliness by older individuals self-isolating during COVID-19. (Lasseter, Christensen, Grant, Sauchelli, Toran). Funder: Elizabeth Blackwell Institute (EBI). 

Using linked primary care and viral surveillance data to develop risk stratification models to inform management of severe COVID-19: (Payne, Kontopantelis, Mant, Denholm, Cooper, Forbes, Herbert, Tammes). Funder: NIHR School for Primary Care Research. Start-End Dates: 20/04/2020-20/10/2020


See the following web pages for COVID-19 related publications by CAPC researchers.

Recruiting studies

Although many of our non-COVID-19 research projects have been put on hold due to the pandemic, some are able to continue and are actively encouraging members of the public to take part. Where possible, these studies will be collecting data to help us understand the impact of the virus.

Patient and public involvement (PPI) in COVID-19 research

PPI meetings and consultations are continuing, despite the current challenges.

PPI input is as valuable now as it always has been. We are continuing to liaise with our PPI contributors, recruit new contributors and engage them in new projects, as well as continuing with existing PPI groups. We are receiving PPI contributions in a variety of ways including:

  • virtual PPI meetings – either by video or teleconference
  • feedback from individual PPI contributors over the phone, or email
  • written email feedback on research ideas, problems and written material.

Julie Clayton and Victoria Wilson, the CAPC PPI co-ordinators, are keeping in touch with contributors with new developments, links to training and project related information. They are continuing to support patient and public involvement in our research by:

  • arranging and supporting PPI meetings
  • writing new guidance materials for PPI work
  • circulating new guidance materials
  • planning future engagement events.

They are also in touch with other PPI leads from the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) School for Primary Care Research and across Bristol, so that they can update contributors and researchers with any new PPI developments and guidance.

Media coverage

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