Hundreds of Camden residents join scientists’ coronavirus vaccine study
PUBLISHED: 13:34 20 April 2020 | UPDATED: 13:34 20 April 2020
Elderly Camden residents are helping scientists in the race to develop a vaccine for deadly virus covid-19.
Around 600 pensioners from the borough have signed up to participate in a study tracking the effects of the coronavirus in older people with hundreds more are expected to join them.
Dr Daniel Davis, a consultant in geriatric medicine at UCL, said the study could help doctors determine from patients’ blood whether the virus would make them seriously ill, before they ever contracted it.
He said the results could be crucial to global efforts to tackle the virus, telling the Ham & High: “We are absolutely trying to feed into the very first wave of all the vaccine development.
“Our study is unique because there are no other samples that are tracking pre-infection in older people specifically. Our results will be widely used and will be widely needed.
“Each person who we are able to get a blood sample from is a piece of the jigsaw puzzle. We are continuing to sign people up every day.
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“We think that the answer is in the bloods. We think we can find predictive markers; a signal in your blood today that will predict, when you next see covid-19, are you potentially going to just clear it, or will your blood be one of those that falls down?”
Dr Davis is working with Professor Michael Levin from Imperial College’s Department of Infectious Disease.
They are taking swabs and blood samples from hundreds of elderly Camden residents. Scientists will visit their homes, kitted out in full protective equipment to collect the samples.
The volunteers will then be contacted weekly to track whether they develop any symptoms, at which time they may undergo further tests.
Participants have been selected because they were already signed up to another study on ageing in Camden. The borough was chosen because of its unique older population.
Dr Davis said: “Camden has got probably the biggest distribution of age and health, but also wealth, maybe in the world, or at least in Europe. There’s a very big variation in life expectancy.”
He added that having the existing ageing study already underway had saved precious time, saying: “If we had started in a month’s time, it’d already be too late.”
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