Forty six patients being cared for by Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust have agreed to take part in the national COVID-19 recovery trial aimed at identifying potential treatment options.
The Randomised Evaluation of COVID Therapy (RECOVERY) trial led by Peter Horby, professor of emerging infectious diseases and global health at Oxford University, focuses on existing and new drugs which may help hospitalised patients with confirmed COVID-19 and has recruited more than 6,000 patients in 165 NHS hospitals around the country.
The trust’s Research and Development Team is working with Dr Atul Garg, Intensive Care Consultant and Divisional Lead for Quality Improvement and Research.
Dr Garg said: “People may be aware that this trial has been set up extremely quickly as we all work together to enhance our understanding of coronavirus and how we can best treat it to help reduce the number of lives it claims.
“The Research and Development Team and I would like to thank those patients who have volunteered to be part of this important piece of work.”
One patient who has volunteered is 51-year-old Nicholas Godward who was treated on Ward 2 of Walsall Manor Hospital. The father-of two started feeling ill earlier this month and developed a cough. He also had difficulty breathing and ended up in hospital where he tested positive for the virus.
“I’ve been lucky as I started to get stronger and stronger unlike some people,” explained the production engineer. “I volunteered for the trial because I’d like to think that by doing so I can help others and help the experts to develop the best treatment.”
As well as normal hospital treatment, patients with COVID-19 will either receive no additional experimental treatment, or will receive one of the following treatments:
A combination of Lopinavir-Ritonavir (antiviral drugs)
Low-dose corticosteroids (used to reduce inflammation)
Hydroxychloroquine (similar to a drug used to treat malaria).
Azithromycin (antibiotic with immune modulatory properties)
Dr Marie Lewis, Assistant Director for Research and Professional Development for Walsall Healthcare, said this is an “adaptive” trial so that it can test new therapies as they become available.
She said: “The aim is to have data available to inform patient treatment within three months.
“Walsall Healthcare is also involved in two other studies – UKOSS: Pandemic Influenza in Pregnancy and ISARIC/WHO Clinical Characterisation Protocol for Severe Emerging Infections in the UK. The UKOSS study is looking at incidence, management and outcomes of COVID-19 in pregnancy to identify factors associated with better outcomes for women and their babies. The ISARIC study is being supported by three medical students and is focusing on detailed clinical data of patients.
“The pandemic has really highlighted the importance of such research and how vital this is if we are to be well prepared for such an emergency.”