An NIHR Oxford Biomedical Research Centre researcher who has played a leading role in Oxford University Hospitals (OUH) NHS Foundation Trust’s COVID-19 staff testing programme is to receive a national award.
Dr David Eyre (pictured) has been named as the recipient of the Healthcare Infection Society’s (HIS) 2021 Early Career Award in recognition of his outstanding innovative contributions to the prevention and control of healthcare-associated infections as an early career clinician.
Dr Eyre is Honorary Consultant in Infectious Diseases and Medical Microbiology at OUH and an Oxford BRC Senior Research Fellow. He is an Associate Professor at the University of Oxford’s Nuffield Department of Population Health and a Robertson Foundation Fellow at the University’s Big Data Institute.
He said: “I am delighted and very honoured to accept the Healthcare Infection Society’s Early Career Award 2021. I have had an exciting and rewarding decade combining my clinical training with using state of the art technology to try to better understand how and why infection spreads and what we can do to stop it to protect patients and healthcare workers.
“I am incredibly grateful to many great mentors and friends who have supported me, in particular Professors Sarah Walker, Mark Wilcox, Tim Peto and Derrick Crook, as well as many fantastic clinical colleagues at Oxford University Hospitals. I would also like to thank all the patients and healthcare workers who have contributed to research I have been involved in. Finally, a very big thank you to my wife Katie and three children, William, Alex and Rosie, for lots of love and fun outside of work that has made much of what I have achieved possible.”
The Oxford BRC-supported OUH staff COVID-19 testing programme, one of the largest of its kind in the NHS, has made a number of important findings, such as the different levels of risk faced by healthcare workers dealing with the pandemic; the relative protection offered by vaccines compared to natural immunity after infection; and the benefits to OUH staff of regular lateral flow testing.
Dr Elisabeth Ridgway, Chair of the HIS Trustees said: ““HIS Council were particularly impressed by how Dr Eyre has used traditional and molecular diagnostics, whole genome sequencing and wider healthcare analytics to investigate microbial transmission, and applied large data-driven studies to reduce healthcare-acquired infection and directly influence staff and patient care.
“HIS Council also recognised Dr Eyre’s significant role in supporting the IPC strategy of his Trust during the COVID-19 outbreak. They acknowledged that his role in the development of a web-based application to collect data and support Trust staff had led to the first publication internationally to show that prior COVID-19 infection protects against subsequent symptomatic COVID-19 infection.”
The Healthcare Infection Society is a charitable organisation with over 1,250 members who are experts in the prevention and control of healthcare-associated infections. Patients can acquire these infections either as a result of being in contact with a healthcare setting or via medical interventions.
Members of the Society are drawn largely from the medical profession, and are predominantly consultant microbiologists and doctors enrolled on an infection specialty training programme.