20/05/2022

University of Bolton student champions praised for their support

The man leading the world’s biggest clinical trials into the treatment of Covid-19 run by Oxford University visited Student Champions from the University of Bolton to thank them for their vital support.

Professor Chris Butler

Professor Chris Butler addressed students who have been helping to recruit volunteers for two trials through community outreach work.

The latest of the two, the Panoramic Trial, run by the University of Oxford, was launched in December 2021 and has already reached the 26,000 volunteer milestone, making it the fastest recruiting clinical trial ever in the UK.

Professor Butler, who is a Professor of Primary Care at the University of Oxford’s Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences, was joined by Professor Mahendra Patel, who is working as a national lead on the two trials, Panoramic and the initial one, Principle.

Professor Butler spoke at a special event on Monday 16 May, attended by the Mayor of Bolton Cllr Linda Thomas and Bolton’s Director of Public Health, Dr Helen Lowey.

He said: “The evidence you have helped to collect is a playing a part all over the world. You are the unsung heroes

“The search for early treatments in the community is not over and that’s where you guys come in and that’s where you have been so helpful in not only encouraging people to get involved in this research but making sure that the sample of the trial us representative and the results are meaningful.”

He added: “If you want to go fast you just go alone, if you want to go far, we go together and this is what this collaboration is – we are going together.”

Trial Posters

The University of Bolton has been working closely with and supporting Oxford University’s UK-wide innovative Principle Trial to help raise awareness of the development of treatments in the fight against Covid-19 in the community since early 2021.

The team of student champions were trained by Professor Patel through virtual meetings and assembled to help enlist volunteers from the Bolton community and the wider Greater Manchester area to take part in the studies.

The students, wearing branded promotional hoodies, spread the message using flyers and video content in 10 languages amongst the local communities with information on how to enrol and to take part. 

They have reached out to locations on campus, local shopping malls, sports venues, vaccination centres and the Trafford Centre in Manchester.

The Panoramic Trial aims to find new anti-viral treatments for people with Covid-19.

Professor Patel said: “The students have been involved in two three-month initiatives for the two trials, this is on top of all the work they have to keep up with at university.

“Their dedication and commitment is a huge testament to the success of this outreach work which is now a model for others to emulate in supporting wider research and helping to reduce health inequalities.”

Urja Gandhi- Student ChampionZubair Hanslot, Provost of the University of Bolton, said: “We are delighted to support the team at the University of Oxford and we are very proud of our student champions.”

Two of the student champions, Seema Pathan and Urja Gandhi, also gave a short presentation to Professor Butler.

Urja explained how the Student Champions had gone out into the community, at shops and businesses and targeted a diverse section of the community.

She said: “Students have grown in confidence being involved in this.”

Dr Lowey told the students: “I want to say a big thank you to you all; you can’t underestimate how big an impact you’ve had and also how many lives you’ve saved.”

For further information about the trials and the collaboration between the Universities of Bolton and Oxford, please visit https://we.tl/t-qU0uW27dxd.

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