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NEWS ROUNDUP: Leeds COVID-19 study


13/05/21 | Leeds local news | Leeds is set to host a ‘pop up’ blood donation centre to help a ground-breaking COVID-19 research study.

Researchers from the Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust and scientists involved in the project are urgently calling for people in the area who caught the virus to volunteer to help.

From Saturday (15th May), eligible participants from the city and surrounding areas will be able todonate a blood sample at a temporary, COVID-secure centre at the Crowne Plaza Leeds (Wellington Street, LS1 4DL). If they don’t wish to travel, the scheme also offers volunteers the option of making an appointment for a nurse to visit their home.

The unique GenOMICC COVID-19 Study analyses the genes of people who have had the virus to discover why some experienced no symptoms while others became extremely ill. The study is already contributing to the fight again COVID, with preliminary results helping identify possible new treatments.

However, for the study to continue to make progress the scientists urgently need to recruit more people from all backgrounds and are appealing to those who had the virus but didn’t require hospital treatment to sign up. Along with seeking the help of members of Asian and Black communities, they’re also keen for more men to volunteer.

“The virus’ effect has been more widely felt among ethnic and minority communities, so it’s important we help those who are making such an important contribution in the fight against COVID”, said Aman Ali from Muslim Engagement and Development (MEND). “We’re encouraging everyone to take a minute to see if they’re suitable to volunteer for the study. The results will be shared internationally and offer more protection to some of the most vulnerable groups of people around the world.”

The program was enthusiastically embraced in Scotland, Bradford, Preston, London, Leicester and Birmingham when similar sites were opened recently – and scientists are hoping for a similar response in Leeds.

“Over the last 12 months, the city of Leeds has suffered badly from COVID-19,” said Elizabeth Wilby, Senior Research Sister at Leeds Teaching Hospital NHS Trust and Principal Investigator for the study in Leeds. “Sadly, Covid’s effect has disproportionately been felt by people of Asian and Black heritage. This study provides us with an opportunity to try to better understand why. We strongly encourage people from ethnic and minority communities across Leeds to support this study to help us discover new ways of beating the virus.”

“We’re issuing an urgent appeal for more volunteers from all walks of life – and in particular for people from the region’s Asian and Black communities – to come forward and register as soon as possible,” explains Dr Kenneth Baillie, the study’s Chief Investigator.

“We need to find people who tested positive for COVID but experienced either mild or no symptoms and didn’t require hospital treatment. For comparison purposes, it’s important that these volunteers are similar in age, gender and ethnicity of those people who were severely affected and hospitalised.”

“The quicker this research can be completed, the faster we can solve the COVID puzzle and protect vulnerable people,” said Professor Sir Mark Caulfield, Chief Scientist at Genomics England. “Genetic research into COVID-19 is now playing an increasingly important role in our fight against the virus, enabling us to identify new forms of the virus and develop treatments. “The findings from the GenOMICC COVID-19 Study will improve the treatment, care and outcome
for those most at risk, as well as helping to prioritise future vaccinations and lower the number of deaths.”

The research project is open to anyone who tested positive to COVID but experienced mild or no symptoms and didn’t require hospital treatment – volunteers can register online here.



These pictures show the behind-the-scenes work as a perfectly restored prisoner of war camp and a WWII museum prepares to open after lockdown.

The Eden Camp Museum in Malton, North Yorks., boasts the most comprehensive display of 20th century British military history in the world.

It was set up in a former Second World War prisoner-of-war camp, and underwent a massive renovation and repair in the years following the war.

The pictures show a worker diligently setting up the various 'huts' with mannequins and restored items from the time.

In a surreal shot, a staff member is seen carrying a mannequin of a soldier with a Spitfire parked in the background.

Vintage memorabilia, including an HP baked beans posters, are polished and placed carefully by staff.

A mannequin of a prisoner of war can be seen tucked into a bed in one of the 33 huts.

In 1943, the first Italian prisoners of war were moved into the ‘huts’ and the camp held German prisoners until 1949.

It was opened as a museum in 1987, and after being shut during lockdown is set to reopen its doors to history buffs who want to be transported back in time.

One of its buildings contains three human torpedoes and a "Sleeping Beauty" Motorised Submersible Canoe.

The museum is also restoring a Super Sherman (M50) to its original working classic.

(SWNS | Joe Pagnelli)



Two Yorkshire-based potato growers are celebrating today after scooping not one but two prestigious international awards for liquids produced by the Elsham Wold Distillery at the 2021 San Francisco World Spirits Competition.

York-based Richard Arundel and fellow founder and co-distiller, Ben Mordue, spent 8 years researching the best processes and equipment to turn their high-quality King Edward potatoes into a great-tasting, perfectly smooth sipping vodka before establishing the Elsham Wold Distillery just south of the Humber.

This hard work and dedication has paid off with the signature Edwards 1902 Potato Vodka receiving it’s fifth internationally recognised industry award in just over a year with a Bronze medal at the 2021 San Francisco World Spirits Competition and the Cold-Brew Coffee Liqueur receiving a Double Gold Medal at the awards ceremony – the very highest accolade.

Co-Founder Ben Mordue says: “We’re over the moon to receive such prestigious recognition for both our Edwards 1902 Potato Vodka and Cold-Brew Coffee Liqueur. Knowing that both liquids have passed meticulous tests of quality and taste and outscored more established brands in the process is something we are very proud of. The Double Gold Medal for the Cold-Brew Coffee Liqueur is a true testament to the overall quality of our spirts as we combine our English Potato Vodka with a balanced blend of single-origin, cold brewed Guatemalan coffee supplied by our neighbours Lincoln & York to create this unique liquid.”

Founded over 20 years ago, the 2021 San Francisco World Spirits competition is regarded as one of the highest honours in the drinks industry with all liquids being blind tested to ensure they are judged fairly and without bias.

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