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Mobile research units support HARMONIE study

Picture of the side of the Mobile Research Unit

Over 80 babies have been enrolled into the HARMONIE study thanks to the use of the south west first’s mobile research units.

The HARMONIE study looks at the effectiveness of a single antibody dose at protecting babies from serious illness caused by the RSV infection. RSV is a common infection that tends to occur seasonally. While most babies will have a mild case, for some it can lead to further lower respiratory tract infections.

The babies who were enrolled in this study received a single dose of nirsevimab, which is an immunisation that has been shown to reduce these lower respiratory tract infections by 74.5% in earlier trials. After this, they were invited to follow-up sessions via an app.

The Research and Development team at University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust (UHP) have been making use of their mobile research units (MRUs) to inform, recruit and carry out the immunisations for this study, bringing research into the community and making the HARMONIE study accessible to as many families as possible. The study has now closed but the MRUs meant that the team was able to recruit a total of 81 babies.

Speaking about the MRUs, Catherine Pitman, Lead Research Nurse, said: “Having the MRUs has enabled us to reach busy parents and take research to them, instead of expecting them to have to take time off work or travel to the hospital. This the ethos of the MRU patient centred care and our goals are to take care of the patient in a location suitable for them, while working with our partners across the care pathway”.

The MRUs were launched back in 2022 after funding was received from the National Institute for Health and Care Research Clinical Research Network South West Peninsula (NIHR CRN SWP) via the COVID-19 Vaccine Taskforce. By making use of these units, the Research and Development team at UHP hope to be able to bring more research studies like this to the wider population.

Members of the public who see the MRUs out and about are encouraged to chat with the Research and Development team about opportunities to get involved in research.

To find out more about Research and Development at University Hospitals Plymouth, please visit: www.plymouthhospitals.nhs.uk/research.

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