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The ISN Presents Evidence to the UK Committee on the Science of COVID-19

Professor Donal O’Donoghue, Chair of the ISN’s Advocacy Working Group, was among a distinguished panel of experts who gave evidence at the House of Lords Science and Technology Select Committee hearing on the Science of COVID-19 in the UK.

Presenting at the beginning of the virtual session on Tuesday, September 15, Professor O’Donoghue outlined the global burden of kidney disease and the additional challenges that COVID-19 poses for kidney patients.

Professor O’Donoghue described the significant impact that COVID-related delays in healthcare provisions are having on kidney patients:

  • an 85% decrease in referrals for secondary care over a three month period in the UK,
  • the near-total cessation of transplantation services,
  • the ongoing disruption to live donations.

Citing ISN members’ experiences in North America, Professor O’Donoghue highlighted the staggering difference in mortality rates for acute kidney injury patients with COVID-19, a 50% increase in mortality, a risk factor only exceeded by age.

Professor O’Donoghue also raised the issue of the exclusion of kidney disease patients from clinical trials related to COVID-19 for “no good reason” and insisted that given its considerable impact on kidney function, kidney patients must play a much greater role in current research on the impact of COVID-19.

He called for the relevant authorities to encourage and support collaboration between professional organizations in tackling these challenges.

The ISN will be working closely with stakeholders to ensure that these recommendations influence the research areas and healthcare strategies identified by the Committee.

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