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COVID-19 information

We play a key role in COVID-19 research and the department’s containment level 3 (CL3) laboratory facilities have enabled us to safely conduct specimen handling for many studies.

Several Urgent Public Health Research studies for COVID-19 are being worked on. This includes FALCON, led by Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust, which evaluates diagnostic platforms for diagnosis of COVID-19 infections.

We are working with Birmingham Community Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust to provide laboratory analysis for the SIREN Public Health England study which examines COVID-19 infection in healthcare workers.

We are also collaborating with the COVID-19 Genomics UK Consortium team at the University of Birmingham to provide COVID-19 samples for sequencing which may aid outbreak investigations and instruct infection prevention practice.

Microbiology is the study of microscopic organisms such as bacteria and viruses.

The Microbiology team focus on the diagnosis and management of infections in patients and infection prevention and control at University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust (UHB).

Many patients treated at UHB have injuries or illnesses which require laboratory tests to understand more about their condition. This can identify infections which have developed as a result of a patient's injuries or the treatment of an underlying condition.

UHB has several consultant microbiologists, virologists and infectious diseases consultants. These staff members are highly responsive to enquiries from hospital staff and local general practitioners. They also attend ward rounds and contribute to multi-disciplinary teams across many areas.

The Microbiology Research team at Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham (QEHB) have a number of research duties that fall into two categories:

  1. Clinical delivery of observational studies
  2. Delivery of laboratory aspects studies

As the main contact for microbiology (and often blood sciences) research enquiries, we collaborate with many individuals and organisations which include universities and other NHS trusts.

We have a well-established collaboration with the NIHR Surgical Reconstruction and Microbiology Research Centre (SRMRC). We have worked with the SRMRC on studies such as the determination of the safety and optimal dose of acetic acid to treat certain types of burns, as well as the genetic monitoring of the gut microbiome in critically ill patients.

Common conditions and trial topics

The Microbiology Research team's portfolio is varied and includes academic studies on various types of healthcare-associated infection such as:

  • hospital-acquired pneumonia
  • infection with Clostridium difficile (C. diff)
  • surgical site infection (SSI)

We were the lead site in England for the international COMBACTE ASPIRE-SSI study. Objectives included determining the current rates of surgical site infections and the impact infections with a bacteria called staphylococcus aureus could have on patients developing SSIs.

We also contribute to the Bioresource for Adult Infectious Diseases (BioAID).

Our work also involves commercial chart reviews, to clinically evaluate new antimicrobial agents. Our research portfolio includes the evaluation of diagnostic tests and in vitro antibiotic susceptibility testing on novel antimicrobial agents.

Contact information

Team leads: Anna Casey and Liz Ratcliffe.

Last reviewed: 23 April 2021