The UK’s successful Covid vaccination program leader has accused health officials of dismantling a vital database set up to support Covid vaccine trials when it could be used for other important medical research programs. did.

Mrs Kate Bingham said, “All this talk about Britain becoming a scientific superpower is absurd.” Observer“These people don’t really care. If we want our clinical research to be really strong, we shouldn’t start dismantling what’s already in place.”

In a dramatic blowout by Bingham, volunteers who have already signed up for a national database of individuals wishing to participate in medical research will face a complex, step-by-step verification process to reapply to stay in the scheme.

Describing the NIHR move as “ridiculous”, Bingham said the database was set up in spring 2020, so it would not be possible for the UK to be ready and enrolled in trials after a Covid vaccine candidate was developed by researchers. He said he had a pool of volunteers waiting.

Kate Bingham to appear on TV with Virus
Kate Bingham called the NIHR changes “ridiculous.” Photo: ITV/Rex

“550,000 people signed up and about 50,000 of them were later used in 18 different vaccine trials from seven different companies.So it was very effective.”

Importantly, when the scheme was established, a provision was added asking enrolled volunteers if they also agreed to participate in medical trials that did not include Covid research, with 94% saying they would. rice field. “It has created a very valuable resource for the country,” said Bingham, who was honored for her work leading the UK’s Covid Vaccine Task Force.

The bureaucratic hurdles they had to overcome were great, but “Now the bureaucracy is taking over again – it’s a nuisance,” she added. I came back to everyone in and told them they would have to re-register in a complicated process involving three separate steps and an exchange of confirmation emails.

“Then the previous volunteers are registered again.”

Bingham said she went through the re-registration process herself, but found it complicated and unhelpful.

“This is a tremendous way to lose a lot of people from the database,” she said.

“They had half a million people willing to participate in all kinds of medical research projects. But there’s no way that number of people would sign up again. It’s a complete waste.”

Bingham, managing partner of venture capital firm SV Health Investors, has been lauded for ensuring that the UK was quickly supplied with sufficient Covid vaccines during the pandemic. But since then she has been very critical of the civil service culture she experienced when she was asked to lead her task force for vaccines in the UK.

“The problem is that officials are looking at the process, not the outcome,” she said. Observer“There is an easy way to keep all volunteers in the database without this complex re-registration. Plain and simple. We should invest in our research infrastructure instead of dismantling it.” .”

In a speech last year, Bingham said, “There is little relevant scientific and business experience across government, a culture of poor performance in delivering results, and a sense of mistrust and often functioning between government and the bioscience industry.” There is an imperfect relationship,” he said.

Bingham added that the issue is of particular concern today. That’s because the UK isn’t yet “out of the woods” when it comes to dealing with the Covid pandemic.

“We need to continue testing and developing new formats and new approaches, and be prepared for new variants that are likely to emerge over the coming months and years. Do you lose the pool of people, it just seems nuts.

The NIHR said it had moved to create a new and better registry to help people with all conditions, adding that it was important to seek new consent from individuals for new volunteer services.

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