Gastroenterology - Current Research

NIHR Funded By



The CLARITY study aims to look at the development of COVID-19 antibodies in UK patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). The study is sponsored by Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital and supported by National Institute for Health Research Clinical Research Network (NIHR CRN). 

What is the background of the study?

Patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) are usually treated with immunosuppressive drugs. By inhibiting the immune system, these drugs increase the risk of serious infections and prevent vaccines fully working.

Because COVID-19 is caused by a new virus, there is not enough evidence if these drugs increase the risk of infection, life-threatening illness or reduce immunity that usually follows infection or vaccination.

As a precaution the UK Government advised patients taking immunosuppressive drugs to follow strict social distancing measures, known as shielding, during the 12-week lockdown. This study looks to investigate the impact of these drugs and shielding on COVID-19 infection and subsequent immunity.

What does the study involve?

IBD patients who come into hospital to have their routine infusion will be asked to complete a questionnaire and give a blood sample, alongside an existing blood test. The questionnaire asks about past or current symptoms of possible coronavirus infection and whether the patient has been shielding. 

What will the results help?

The results of this study will help inform public health policy decisions for patients with IBD as well as millions of other UK patients treated with immunosuppressive drugs.

For further information about the study, please visit

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Southmead Hospital
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