Coronavirus: Hundreds of patients with Covid-19 benefiting from clinical trials at UHNM


More than 600 patients with Covid-19 (Coronavirus) are benefitting from involvement in clinical trials at UHNM. Over the last six weeks the trust has launched four different trials which look at genetic factors affecting people’s response to the disease, as well as treatment effectiveness. The vital data gathered through these studies helps to inform the national approach on Covid-19 and UHNM is playing an active role in recruiting patients to these trials. Recently, the trust submitted 30 sets of data via the national system in just one day.

Martin Booth, Assistant Research Practitioner, said: “Clinical trials are indispensable in the fight against Covid-19 because the more information we have, the quicker adaptations can be made. Clinical trials can help us to gain a better understanding of how the virus works and, of course, we hope that this will help us to defeat it. We want to know who is most affected, why this is – and crucially, if and how we can treat and even prevent the virus. It is our intention to approach all eligible patients and offer them the choice to participate. Although it’s too early at this stage to say how effective the trials are or will be, we have to try – and we have at the very least made a good start on increasing our knowledge.”

Martin Booth, Assistant Research Practitioner at UHNM

All patients testing positive for Covid-19 are enrolled onto the ISARIC (International Severe Acute Respiratory and emerging Infection Consortium) trial. This involves the collection of clinical data in order to develop an understanding of virus processes, so that risk factors for severe illness can be identified and treatments developed.

ISARIC is the central trial which all other Covid-19 trials feed into and helps to form Public Health England guidance. When a pandemic develops, the government uses the data from this and other trials to direct their approach.

The RECOVERY (Randomised Evaluation of Covid-19 Therapy) trial, managed by Oxford University, involves testing existing treatments for Covid-19, including Lopinavir-Ritonavir (commonly used to treat HIV) and Hydroxychloroquine (related to an anti-malarial drug). The trial involves assessment of different treatments, which are administered in addition to standard care. Data from the trial will be regularly reviewed so that effective treatments can be identified quickly and made available to all patients. Treatments can be added in or taken out of the trial as appropriate.

UHNM is also carrying out GENOMICC (Genetics Of Mortality In Critical Care) – a study where blood samples taken from patients treated in Critical Care are used to identify genetic variants associated with susceptibility and mortality from Covid-19.

New trial REMAP-CAP (A Randomised, Embedded, Multi-factorial, Adaptive Platform Trial for Community-Acquired Pneumonia) is also due to open shortly. Similar to the RECOVERY trial, this will look at the efficacy of different treatment options for critically ill patients admitted with severe pneumonia suspected or caused by Covid-19.