The Research and Surveillance Center (RSC) of Oxford RCGP has written to England’s nearly 4,000 GP practices that utilize the EMIS clinical system, encouraging them to contribute patient data to help researchers gain a deeper understanding of how the pandemic affects general practice. Researchers said they will also be trying to provide input on the spread of the virus.

Some of the practices are also called upon to engage in medicines’ rapid clinical trials to determine whether they can help ease symptoms and shorten the duration of the virus. Researchers hope to get 3,000 people to sign up for the first study that will be the community’s first nationwide clinical trial on COVID-19 therapy. Samples from symptomatic patients and extra blood samples from asymptomatic patients who attend daily blood tests were also asked along with patient details.

Professor Simon de Lusignan, director of the Oxford RCGP RSC said that every year in cooperation with Public Health England, they already have about 100 practices involved in the national flu virology surveillance scheme and they require that to desperately increase to find a solution to the Covid outbreak and see how the outbreak affects general practice. Without the help of more practices they’ll struggle to attract the numbers required for clinical trials. ‘Daily feedback from frontline GP practices will allow researchers to closely track this emergency in terms of public health as it evolves. Chief medical officer, Dr O’Hanlon said that the team   knows that at a time of unprecedented pressure this is an additional proposal, they hope practices will come forth to help this essential national initiative.