A brand-new Clinical Research Unit was officially opened on Wednesday 7 September at Aneurin Bevan University Health Board, marking Wales’ international contribution to the urgent Public Health Covid-19 studies that resulted in the founding of the life-saving Astra Zeneca vaccine.
The facility, based in the Royal Gwent Hospital, will deliver crucial clinical research with a team of experts from the Health Board’s Research and Development team. The vital data captured by the studies in the centre will aim to become everyday practice within NHS processes to help find the best treatments for the people of Gwent, Wales and beyond. The centre can contribute to national and global phase 2 and 3 trials, providing people in South Wales the opportunity to access state-of-the-art new treatments for a range of illnesses.
Part of the unit’s founding comes from the creation of the ground-breaking COVID-19 vaccine sponsored by Oxford University, which was a team effort between Aneurin Bevan University Health Board, Health and Care Research Wales, Public Health Wales and Cardiff University; putting Wales on the map in the worldwide fight against the pandemic.
Aneurin Bevan University Health Board’s new Chief Executive Officer, Nicola Prygodzicz, opened the centre and was delighted to have the occasion as her first public engagement.
She said: “This truly shows the remarkable contribution our Health Board has made to Covid-19 research and I’m so pleased that such important work will be carried out in a state-of-the-art facility here in Gwent. I am very grateful to the partners who have worked with us along the way and am pleased to have had many of them attend this official opening event.”
Dr Sarah Aitken, Executive Director of Public Health and Strategic Partnerships and Chair for Research for Aneurin Bevan University Health Board, said:
“It’s incredible to see the work that’s been done over these past few challenging years result in something as positive and important as this Clinical Research Centre. I am so proud of the team and am hugely encouraged by the future work and insights that will derive from these new facilities. Ultimately, this crucial work will play a key part in improving the health of the people of Gwent.”
Also in attendance, Health and Care Research Wales’ National Director of Research Support and Delivery, Dr Nicola Williams, said:
“This investment in South Wales allows for a significant increase in Wales’ capacity to carry out potentially life-changing research, as we now have a number of dedicated Clinical Research Facilities across Wales. These centres create a network of opportunity to contribute significantly to national and global studies, ensuring we continue to stay at the cutting edge of health and social care.”
There are currently over 100 active studies taking place within Aneurin Bevan University Health Board, including investigating treatments for respiratory conditions, COVID-19, cancer and more. For more information on signing up for trials and current research studies, patients are advised to discuss research options with their treating clinicians.