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New COVID-19 national research register to improve health impacts over time


An online national research register will recruit one million Australians for research addressing COVID-19.

A team of researchers from UNSW and The George Institute is inviting the Australian community to help change the course of COVID-19, protect against future pandemics and address the nation’s other pressing health concerns.

“By signing up to the new Count Me In research register, Australians can assist in the rapid prevention and treatment of COVID-19 as well as other future diseases,” says Professor Bruce Neal, Executive Director of The George Institute. 

The participation of the Australian community will also help define the medium and long-term effects of COVID-19 on our health and wellbeing, and help evaluate the risk of reinfection.  

Count Me In enables Australians to sign up to be contacted about research projects that might be of relevance to them. The consent provided will connect researchers with participants directly, thereby removing any third parties, and streamlining the research process,” says Professor Neal.

Community participation is often integral in scientific research. However, a major challenge researchers face is actually recruiting participants. 

“While two thirds of the general community might say they are happy to be involved in clinical trials, in practice, less than one per cent ever do,” explains Professor Neal.

To bridge the gap between what the community aspires to, and what researchers manage to achieve, UNSW Sydney and The George Institute for Global Health have spent the last six months developing the revolutionary new online research register. 

As one of the 12 research projects identified as being a national priority within UNSW’s Rapid Response Research Fund, Count Me In aims to recruit one million Australians to engage in research addressing COVID-19 and other pressing health issues. 

“The COVID-19 pandemic requires a massive and immediate research response that will need substantial community involvement,” says Professor Neal. “Our vision for Count Me In is that it will help respond to, and outlive the COVID-19 pandemic by continuing to serve as a sustainable resource for Australian researchers for years to come.”

Professor Neal explains: “We borrowed from a successful model developed in Scotland called SHARE, which links participant details with their routinely collected medical data to determine whether they might be suitable for health research studies”.

Your support for more effective and efficient research will speed lifesaving solutions and recovery across all areas of our lives. “There is an opportunity here to make a real difference for generations to come,says Professor Neal.