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Image showing a COVID-19 particle with 'spike' protein structure

Great Minds and COVID-19

Over the past year, living with the COVID-19 pandemic has presented significant and unexpected challenges, forcing everyone to make changes to several areas of daily life – both personal and professional.

In research, the ability to conduct face-to-face study visits has been severely limited by restrictions on non-essential travel and mixing of people from different households. As a result, most projects have had to pause recruitment and testing activities, reducing the number of research opportunities that we at Great Minds have been able to offer our members.

Despite such difficulties, we have managed to expand our membership nearly twofold (to just under 5,000 members) thanks to the remote nature of our assessments, with new volunteers joining from across the country. Furthermore, we have recently begun mailing genotyping and activity-monitoring kits to some of our members who consented to those assessments. Combined with the wealth of data already available on our members, we hope that this will allow even more targeted recruitment into research studies in the future.

Importantly, with the vaccination campaign successfully under way, and COVID-19 numbers in decline, researchers are finally able to start planning for the reopening of in-person participant visits. There are already two separate studies in line to recruit from Great Minds, and we expect more will join in the coming weeks and months.

After what has been a slow and unusual year, we hope to be able finally to start sharing research opportunities with our members from spring onwards.

Thank you for your patience and support.