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Working together saves lives

Researchers at UHNM and the National Institute for Health Research Clinical Research Network West Midlands (NIHR CRN WM) are working together to bring potentially life-saving Coronavirus treatments a step closer. As a number of different trials for COVID-19 treatments take place throughout the world, local teams continue to play a huge role in the search for medicine which can alleviate the symptoms of Coronavirus or even cure it.

The RECOVERY (Randomised Evaluation of Covid-19 Therapy) trial, managed by Oxford University, involves testing existing treatments for COVID-19 and led to the discovery of the steroid Dexamethasone as the first drug to improve survival rates in certain Coronavirus patients.

Dr Adam Farmer, Consultant Gastroenterologist and Deputy Director of Research at UHNM, has been leading the care of Coronavirus patients at County Hospital since the beginning of the outbreak.

Dr Farmer said: “The RECOVERY trial has gone very well here. There has been significant collaboration between research practitioners and the medical staff at County on a scale which I have not witnessed before and this has resulted in more than 50 patients enrolled on the trial. It has been a pleasure to work with the CRN WM team during the pandemic and a great example of how clinical research can be delivered efficiently, flexibly and safely when it is done as a collaborative process.”

Emily Eaton, Research Nurse for NIHR CRN WM, said: “Since starting our most recent placement at County Hospital, we have had no choice but to hit the ground running and it’s been such an enjoyable, satisfying challenge. We’ve come up with new ideas and new ways of working almost daily - growing, evolving and adapting to each other’s existing ideas. Our recruitment process runs smoothly, from liaising with the doctors to giving patients information and receiving consent. We have designed checklists, document trackers, and used an already established whiteboard system and so much more to ensure a seamless service. This enables us to give our brave patients the confidence to participate in this essential research.”

Preliminary findings of the RECOVERY trial found that Dexamethasone reduced the risk of dying by one-third in ventilated patients and by one fifth in other patients receiving oxygen only.