Britain’s most influential Hindu temple spreads awareness of the PRINCIPLE trial among Indian community

Europe’s BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha, the largest Hindu temple outside of India, is supporting their community during the coronavirus pandemic by spreading awareness of the PRINCIPLE trial of Covid-19 treatments.

Led by Oxford University researchers, the PRINCIPLE trial is working across all UK communities to evaluate if treatment administered early in the course of the Covid-19 illness can help people aged over 50 recover quickly, without the need for hospital admission.

Sadhu Yogvivekdas, Head of the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Sanstha, UK & Europe, explained details of the trial to its vast network of worshipers and followers as part of an online sermon, explaining that those with Covid-19 symptoms can join online from home or via GP practices across the country, without the need for face-to-face visits.

While developing grassroots partnerships has been a major focus of the trial’s recruitment strategy so far, recruiting people from Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities has been a particular challenge.

Co-Lead of the PRINCIPLE Trial, Professor Chris Butler from Oxford University’s Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences, said, ‘BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha UK supporting promotion of this important UK-wide flagship public health trial to communities, families and individuals is a welcome and significant step in helping us to reach out to communities as widely as possible.

‘We know that Covid-19 minority ethnic groups in the UK more often get severely unwell when they become ill with Covid-19. It is so important that research involves those that stand to benefit the most from possible new treatments. The PRINCIPLE Trial is a truly democratic, UK-wide clinical trial and is striving to be as inclusive as possible. The findings of the study will be so much more useful if we can include people in the trial who are representative of the UK’s population as a whole. People from minority ethnic communities with Covid-19 can easily contribute to this trial and make a big difference to the evidence that supports better care for everybody.’

Professor Mahendra G Patel, Co-Investigator and PRINCIPLE’s National Black, Asian, and minority ethnic Community and Pharmacy Research Lead developed the collaboration with the BAPS temple. He said, ‘The PRINCIPLE Trial is led by the University of Oxford to evaluate the use of commonly prescribed and established antibiotics as a treatment to help reduce the symptoms of coronavirus early on and for people aged over 50 to recover quickly and reduce their likelihood of hospital admission. It is important we reach out to those most affected by Covid-19 such as the Black and Asian Minority Ethnic communities, and in this case we are delighted to collaborate with and have the support of BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha UK in helping us to engage with the Hindu community through its vast network and followers.’

The PRINCIPLE trial is funded from UK Research and Innovation and the Department of Health and Social Care through the National Institute for Health Research as part of the UK Government’s rapid research response fund.

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