Research Team Keep up the Fight for New Covid Treatments

UHNM’s research and development team are continuing to play an active role in the fight against Covid-19.

To date the Trust has enrolled 344 patients to the RECOVERY (Randomised Evaluation of Covid-19 Therapy) Trial, which focuses on testing existing treatments for Covid-19. The trial has so far discovered three effective treatments (dexamethasone, tociluzumab and Regeneron’s monoclonal antibody) which are administered to patients severely affected by the disease.

NHS England estimate that around a million lives have been saved between July 2020 and March 2021 thanks to the use of dexamethasone.

282 patients from Royal Stoke University Hospital and 59 patients from County Hospital have been enrolled at UHNM. Current total recruitment in the UK stands in excess of 45,000 participants.

The vital data gathered from the RECOVERY Trial is 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 has played an active role in the recruitment of patients since March 2020 when the trial was launched.

Dr Timothy Kemp, Consultant in Infectious Diseases at UHNM, said: “The RECOVERY Trial has led to a number of new treatments being introduced as effective therapies and we hope that more treatments will be identified as the trial progresses.  Some of the drugs we are currently looking at are already in use for other conditions, such as empaglifozin which is a drug used in diabetes, whereas other treatments have been designed specifically for use against coronaviruses.

“One of the newest treatments in the RECOVERY Trial is sotrovimab, which is designed to attack the outer coat of the Covid-19 virus.  The evidence for this is good in a community setting but so far there hasn’t been enough research to recommend this treatment for inpatients.

“Our current battle is the new Omicron variant which transmits more easily than the Delta variant. Currently there is no evidence to suggest it is more likely to cause severe disease or mortality, but continuous enrolling of eligible participants to the trial is needed to solidify our knowledge base.

“We’d really like to thank all of the staff both clinically and in our research team for their hard work on this and the many other Covid-19 studies that are running in our hospitals, but I would particularly like to pay tribute to those individuals who have participated in the trial.

“I’m very keen that as many patients as possible get the opportunity to be enrolled into the RECOVERY Trial.  This is being made possible by the collaboration between clinical teams and the UHNM research team.”

Managed by Oxford University, the RECOVERY Trial has changed clinical practice worldwide, helping to save countless lives. It has now expanded internationally, recruiting in hospitals in Indonesia, Nepal, Vietnam and South Africa.

The trial is the world’s largest study of Covid-19 treatments for hospitalised patients, taking place in 177 NHS hospitals across the UK.

Sir Martin Landray, Professor of Medicine and Epidemiology at Oxford Population Health, University of Oxford, and Joint Chief Investigator for RECOVERY, said: “Our success in the trial so far has only been possible thanks to the dedication of NHS doctors and nurses in recruiting patients, and the willingness of the patients themselves to take part. Their contribution has led to the discovery of new treatments for Covid-19 which are now widely used across the NHS.

“The pandemic is far from over, as the emergence of the new Omicron variant demonstrates, and RECOVERY is continuing to investigate several promising treatments. At this critical time, we would like to thank the doctors, nurses and patients who continue to get involved in this important study – helping to deliver a better future for patients suffering from Covid-19.”

You can find out more about the RECOVERY Trial on the study’s website.

Tony Walley
News & Sport Editor

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