All posts by clinicaltrialsblogadmin

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Volunteers’ Week

This week it’s Volunteers’ Week where the nation celebrates and gives thanks to the millions of volunteers for the fantastic contribution they make. 

2020 has truly shown the role that volunteers play and the difference they can make to all our lives. From volunteers taking part in clinical trials for vital Covid-19 vaccinations and treatments through to the volunteers at vaccination centres; they should all be recognised for playing their part in the nation’s fight against the pandemic.

Here at Covance we would like to extend our thanks to all our valued volunteers who take part in our clinical trials. They are vital in the medical world’s development of new medicines to fight and treat many diseases and conditions.

Every day, people just like you become part of something extraordinary. Whether it’s advancing medical science or gaining a financial boost, our volunteers have many different reasons for participating in trials with Covance, but helping others is always the common theme.

If you would like to learn more about becoming a volunteer on one of our clinical trials, please get in touch on 0113 394 5200 or email [email protected]. We’d love to hear from you.

Image courtesy of Nathan Lemon – Unsplash

World Clinical Trials Day

20th May sees our industry celebrate Clinical Trials Day #CTD21. It’s the day when we show pride in our work as clinical researchers and the difference we make.

We want to use this day to raise awareness of the role of clinical trials in society, but also shout about our profession as a fantastic career opportunity for healthcare professionals.

2020 was one of the most challenging in medical history, but clinical trial companies rose to the mammoth challenge. Thanks to a series of clinical trials led by the healthcare professionals alongside the vital volunteers worldwide, vaccines have been developed and delivered.

In 2021, the theme for Clinical Trials Day #CTD21 is rising to challenges and bringing hope.

At Covance we are proud to play a part in giving patients and families hope for a healthier world.

For those of you who aren’t aware why Clinical trials Day is always celebrated on the 20th May – it goes back 274 years to the date when the first recognised clinical trial took place. It was led by a Scottish naval doctor named James Lind who started comparing treatments for scurvy on board HMS Salisbury. He trialled six treatments including oranges and lemons, which came out as a successful remedy.

274 years on clinical trials are more vital than ever. Here at Covance we want to celebrate being a part of this amazing journey!

International Women’s Day

International Women’s Day 2021

This year the theme of International Women’s Day on March 8th is #Choosetochallenge – encouraging people to challenge and call out gender bias and inequality.

Inequality in the workplace is still, in some areas and markets, sadly still apparent. Here at Covance, Leeds we are encouraging all our team to show their support and raise their hands to show they’re in. 

Gender inequality simply should no longer be an issue but whilst unfortunately it still exists we need to make sure that everyone is confident to call it out if they do feel it is happening in their place of work.

At Covance we are a diverse team and that is why, we believe, we work well. Different experiences make more informed decisions. Our unit is led by Heather Davis who is passionate about all the team having opportunities in their work life to thrive and best suit their life choices.

One valued team member is Syeda Lipi Begum who works in Good Manufacturing Practice Quality Assurance at Covance – in short this is the pharmaceutical manufacturing part of the business. Syeda is making sure the necessary systems and process are in place to ensure quality, safety and efficacy of the drug we manufacture

Syeda has worked at Covance since graduating in 2006. Coming from a traditional Asian background, her ambition to follow a career in science was not really the norm for a young girl. However encouraged by her parents, she decided to keep on doing what she enjoyed and went to University in Bradford to study for a BSC in Pharmaceutical Management. Following her graduation she joined Covance.

She initially joined the company as a Pharmacy Technical Assistant. During this time she completed a qualification in Pharmacy Services, so that she could register as a Pharmacy Technician.

Syeda said: “I can’t quite believe I have been with Covance nearly 15 years now! When I started, I was not entirely convinced that I was going to work in this area for the long term, but I soon became aware of the support and encouragement Covance gives its employees.

“I have been fortunate to work in a company where gender inequality simply does not exist. There are women in all levels within Covance. Women in leadership positions alongside male colleagues is the norm.

“I don’t doubt gender inequality is still active in other areas of work. Everyone needs to #choosetochallenge and stand up to it if they see it happening. If we stay quiet it will carry on. I am proud to support International Women’s Day.”

Syeda’s role today within Covance’s has evolved and she is currently in the process of qualifying to become a QP (Qualified Person). This is a person who is responsible for certifying batches of drug product before it can be released for use. Syeda has been encouraged and supported by Covance throughout this training.

Love Your Liver

January is ‘Love Your Liver’ month

As we embark on a new year, January always seems to have a focus on health. Most of us are full of good intentions.  This year, more than ever, people are conscious about their health and how keeping healthy through diet and exercise can play a huge part in fighting off viruses and diseases.

This January it is Love your Liver month a national campaign led by the British Liver Trust Organisation, focusing on how we should all look after our livers in order to be healthier.

Did you know that the liver is our largest solid organ in our body? It is also vital for our overall health. Look after your liver and it will look after you!  Currently one in three of us are at risk at getting liver disease, when it is in fact pretty simple to prevent with lifestyle changes.

Our livers have a lot of jobs to do to help keep our bodies healthy. One of these jobs is processing the alcohol we drink. The more we drink the harder it is for our liver to process it quick enough, which in turn means damaged cells. So, the obvious advice here is to keep your alcohol intake to the recommended in take (no more than 14 units per week) and try to have three days off drinking any alcohol each week, to give your liver time to repair itself.  

Our livers also process most of the nutrients and fats from the foods we eat. If we’re overweight we can increase the risk of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease which can cause lasting liver damage. Simple steps we can take include eating a healthy diet and drinking plenty of water plus taking at least 30 minutes of exercise each day if you can.

The British Liver Trust has put a simple screening questionnaire on its website for you to see if you’re putting your liver at risk. Nine out of ten liver diseases are preventable, but it’s often detected too late for intervention to make a difference – so we need to be mindful of our livers at all times. Treat them right!

At Covance Leeds we have a trial looking at treatments for liver disease coming up soon. We will be looking for healthy volunteers to get involved. It may be that you’ve had a family member or friend who has suffered from liver disease and you’d like to help future patients. Check out forthcoming trials on our website for more information or get in touch to register your interest and apply to become a volunteer with Covance.

Syeda Lipi Begum, BSc (Hons), SRPharmS

In British Science Week, meet one of our amazing team at Covance Leeds and be inspired!

It’s British Science Week this week – a ten-day celebration of science, technology, engineering and maths. Here at Covance, we thought it’s a good reason to tell you about one of our team and why they chose a career in science.

Syeda works in Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) Quality Assurance at Covance – in short this is the pharmaceutical manufacturing part of the business. Syeda is making sure the necessary systems and processes are in place to ensure the quality, safety and efficacy of drug we manufacture.

Syeda has worked at Covance since graduating in 2006. Science has always been something she enjoyed and at school she was inspired by her chemistry teacher. Coming from a traditional Asian background, her ambition to follow a career in science was not really the norm for a young girl. However, she decided to keep on doing what she enjoyed and went to University in Bradford to study for a BSc in Pharmaceutical Management. Following her graduation, she joined Covance.

Having grown up locally Syeda was aware of Covance and the work we do, but at this point was not convinced that she wanted to be in this area for the long term. She initially joined the company as a Pharmacy Technical Assistant. During this time she completed a qualification in Pharmacy Services, so that she could register as a Pharmacy Technician.

Syeda said: “When I started at Covance, I was not sure that I was going to work in this area for the long term, but I soon became aware of the support and encouragement Covance gives employees. There are so many inspiring people working here, all with the aim of making a difference in medicine. Every day is different’’.

“The company has financially contributed to my further studies and is constantly giving me opportunities to learn new things. I am definitely the kind of person who needs challenges in work and the satisfaction that I am making a difference means a lot to me.”

Syeda’s role today within Covance’s has evolved and she is currently in the process of qualifying to become a QP (Qualified Person) within Covance. This is a person who is recognised by the EU regulations as the key figure within a drug manufacturing environment, responsible for certifying batches of drug product before it can be used. Syeda started on this training in 2017 and is now in the final stages for her Qualification, having completed her final module in January this year. Syeda has been encouraged and supported by Covance throughout this training.

When asked what makes Syeda most proud she said: “It’s the work in manufacturing drugs that we do here on site at Covance. I get involved with all aspect of manufacturing processes and their approvals – ultimately helping the drugs to reach the people who need them in the correct way. It’s something we as a company, alongside our volunteers should be very proud of’’.

“I would always encourage people thinking of volunteering to do a study with us to come and talk to us at the unit. See what we do and the difference we make. It’s all stringently controlled and regulated. We could not do this without volunteers. Together we can make a true impact on medicine and the future generation.”

Photo of a man on a motorcycle

Over 60’s clinical trials

They say 60 is the new 40. People who are retired, or considering it, have so many options in terms of activities and the generation is thriving. With more personal free time, many people are focusing on their health and taking up new hobbies to help keep them fit. Plus there is more time to meet new people too.

Here at Covance we have regular studies for people over 60. In some cases we need people aged between 60 and 80. It’s a great way to meet new people and may be give some time to starting a new hobby or craft? Or just even finish that box set that you’ve been meaning to see. Plus volunteers are generously reimbursed for their time.

Our studies for over 60’s are popular and very social. People have made new friends that they have continued to meet up regularly with following the study. They even plan to apply and volunteer for future Covance trials together.

We are currently recruiting for a trial looking for healthy volunteers aged between 60 and 80. A 24-night stay in total with up to 3 follow-up visits where volunteers will receive over £6170 plus travel expenses.  More info here http://bit.ly/383y722

Just think what sort of trip you could plan with that? Or may be put towards that motorbike or motorhome you’ve been lusting after?

Dry January – you’re almost done!

For those of you who have taken the leap and had a Dry January – we take our hats off to you! You’re almost there. It may have been difficult after the festive season, but we bet you’re probably feeling a lot better in yourselves?

Those who have taken out alcohol in January may be feeling the benefits of weight-loss, clearer skin, more energy and better sleep. Couple that with having a bit more spare cash and it seems that many of us may take steps to continue with a lower alcohol intake as we go further into 2020.

Here at Covance we have a study coming up that may just be perfect for those of us who are considering continuing with a healthier lifestyle. Think of the money you’ll be saving with not spending as much on alcohol plus money you will receive if you participate in a clinical trial with us. You’ll also be helping others by playing a part in developing life-saving medicines. Now that’s a very worthy way to embark on a new decade!

The study requires people aged 18-55yrs old with a low alcohol intake. Female applicants must not drink more than 7 units per week and male applicants, no more than 14 units per week. The screening will take place in February with the clinic trial scheduled for March.

For more information on this clinical trial and all other trials we are running, please visit our website.

Sunset landscape

Supercharge your wellness this winter

We think this year has gone by so quickly and now we find ourselves in winter again, we wanted to bring you some tips to supercharge your wellness this winter! Here at Covance Leeds, we are all about health and wellbeing and we wanted to share some wisdom with you, to make you feel better in body and mind this winter!

Nutrition

Eating a balanced diet with a healthy amount of protein and carbohydrates is a crucial way of staying healthy this winter. There are plenty of healthy winter recipes to be found in this collection from BBC Good Food – https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/collection/healthy-winter

At this time of year many of us can fall prey to the dreaded common cold, but there are some easy ways you can boost your immune system by adding a few key things to your diet. Citrus fruits are rich in Vitamin C, known to improve the production of white blood cells, which are key to warding off infections.

Antioxidants are found in a variety of sources, such as green vegetables like broccoli and leafy vegetables like spinach and courgettes. The more fruits and vegetables in your diet the merrier as most are rich in vitamins and antioxidants!

Sleep

Getting a good night’s sleep is key to feeling good throughout the day and being productive. Lack of sleep affects mood and concentration and it can contribute to more serious health problems such as obesity and diabetes. The NHS has an excellent resource of tips for getting a good night’s sleep on their website : https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/sleep-and-tiredness/how-to-get-to-sleep/

Exercise

Most of us know the benefits of regular exercise to our health and wellbeing but finding the time to exercise when you lead a busy lifestyle can be difficult. Thirty minutes of brisk walking a few times per week  is a simple way to boost your exercise regime and walking to work or university is a good way to make time for this. Try setting your alarm half an hour earlier or making time for a walk in your lunchbreak during busy times. According to NHS ‘Sometimes overlooked as a form of exercise, walking briskly can help you build stamina, burn excess calories and make your heart healthier.’ Check out these easy ten minute workouts from NHS if you are pushed for time : https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/exercise/10-minute-workouts/

Fresh air

Being outside is sometimes less appealing during the winter months due to the weather, but as long as you wrap up warm getting outside is so beneficial to health and wellness. Check out this interesting article from Mental Floss ‘11 Scientific Benefits of Being Outdoors’, which links being outdoors to boosting energy, creativity and the immune system : http://mentalfloss.com/article/70548/11-scientific-benefits-being-outdoors

We hope that you all find these winter wellness tips helpful and thank you for reading our latest blog from here at Covance Leeds!

World Mental Health Day

Here at Covance, we believe that raising awareness of mental health issues is vital. ‘World Mental Health Day’ is this week on Thursday 10th October, and this year’s theme, set by the ‘World Federation for Mental Health’ is suicide prevention. In 2018 there were 6507 deaths in the UK from suicide. Anybody killing themselves is too many.

For those that may be suffering from mental health issues there is a range of support available here in the UK.

The NHS have a superb website called ‘Every Mind Matters’ where you can find useful information about mental health, and get your own ‘Mind Plan’ with advice for how to look after your own mental health, by taking a short quiz. Visit the link to their website to find out more: https://bit.ly/2Iy49s1  

The charity ‘Mind’ does amazing work to break down the barriers surrounding mental health and encourage open dialogue surrounding the topic. You can visit the information & support section of their website here to learn more: https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/

A valued colleague and friend of ours here at Covance Leeds, James is helping to raise funds for the Mind charity in Leeds. James is taking part in ‘Rat Race Hell Runner 2019’ on Sunday 12th October in memory of his friend Maud, a young woman who took her own life recently. You can support his fundraising by visiting this link: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/hell-run-for-maud  

Rat Race Hell Runner is a half marathon, which sees participants running a course of 13 miles through hills, bogs and water, so we want to say a huge ‘good luck’ to James, who is taking part along with a group of his friends to raise money for this worthy cause.

Photo of sunset at a beach

Put the fun in to summer

Summer is here at last and there has been a welcome heatwave lately which has made us feel the summer vibes more than ever! Here at Covance Leeds we wanted to put together a few ideas for how to add some fun to your summer, which are sure to make it even more special.

Host a picnic.

Why not host a picnic for family and friends this summer? Invite a few people who are special to you and find a local park or woodland which will make the perfect place for an outdoor feast! BBC Good Food has a great selection of picnic recipes here:

https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/collection/picnic

Get active.

30 minutes of exercise a few times per week can do wonders for both your mental and physical wellbeing. Try going for a brisk walk somewhere scenic and take your headphones with you so that you can enjoy your favourite tunes wherever you go. Joining a gym can be a great way to motivate yourself in to exercising more frequently too and asking a friend to workout with you makes the whole experience more fun!

Take a day at the beach. 

Being by the seaside is a pleasure in itself and there is something so relaxing about watching the waves roll on to the shore. A day at the beach is an ideal way to put fun into summer. Stroll on the sand, eat an ice cream, paddle in the sea and build a sandcastle! Just don’t forget to pack some tasty food, water and of course sunscreen!
Watch a movie.

In the heat of summer, retreating to the cinema might not be a bad idea! There are plenty of great films out this summer and make sure to buy some popcorn when you go, to complete the experience.

Enjoy barbecue season.

There is nothing better than inviting people over for a barbecue in the summer months. We may as well make the most of  the opportunity to cook outside while we can and there is a great selection of barbecue recipes here: https://www.olivemagazine.com/recipes/entertain/best-ever-bbq-recipes/

Go stargazing.

Stargazing is a lovely activity and in the summer months the night sky is often very clear, making it easier to see more stars and even planets! Check out the beginner’s guide to astronomy from the BBC Sky At Night Magazine here : https://www.skyatnightmagazine.com/tag/astronomyforbeginners/

Don’t forget, if you want to be part of something valuable you could become a volunteer for one of our clinical trials. Our Covance Leeds Clinic is located in the heart of the city, surrounded by attractive gardens. We hope to see you soon!