Leicester researcher wins prize for COVID-19 research

A researcher from Leicester has been awarded the Graham Bull Prize from the Royal College of Physicians, after he was amongst the first scientists and doctors to highlight the differing impact of COVID-19 on ethnic groups. 

Dr Manish Pareek, Consultant in Infectious Diseases at Leicester’s Hospitals and Associate Clinical Professor in Infectious Diseases at the University of Leicester, received the award due to the high impact of his work on understanding COVID-19 over the last 18 months. He has published over 35 peer-reviewed papers, been awarded over £10 million to continue his research, and has spoken at the ethnicity subgroup of SAGE to influence policy and response to COVID-19.

The Graham Bull Prize is awarded to researchers aged under 45 who have made a major contribution to clinical science. The winner of this prestigious award is invited to deliver the Goulstonian Lecture on behalf of the Royal College of Physicians, which has been held annually since 1639. 

Of the prize, Dr Pareek said: “I am honoured to receive this prize and so proud that I will be able to take the important work my team has done in Leicester at the Goulstonian Lecture.

“Research is always a team effort and I could not have done this work without my colleagues at Leicester’s Hospitals and the University of Leicester. I would also like to thank all the healthcare workers across the country who have taken part in our studies so far.” 

Dr Pareek’s research into COVID-19 began with the first systematic review of COVID-19 literature aimed at quantifying the risk of COVID-19 by ethnicity. He went on to highlight the increased risk of infection in healthcare workers from minority ethnic backgrounds. Dr Pareek’s team is currently running the UK-REACH and DIRECT studies through the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) Leicester Biomedical Research Centre (BRC) to further explore the different risks and impacts felt by healthcare workers from different ethnicities. Over 18,000 healthcare workers have so far taken part in these studies. 

Dr Pareek continued: “For a city as richly diverse as Leicester, understanding how COVID-19 impacts our communities differently is vital. We have worked tirelessly during the pandemic to make sure these differences are understood and communicated to the highest levels of policy makers to keep our communities safe and improve their care.”