Northumbria Healthcare team plays crucial role in Covid care with over 400 patients recruited into key research study

More than 400 patients have been recruited into a life-saving Covid-19 research study by Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust in the past year.

Wednesday, 24th March 2021, 3:42 pm

When the pandemic struck, researchers across the country shifted onto urgent public health (UPH) studies, under the auspices of the NIHR (National Institute for Health Research).

The RECOVERY (Randomised Evaluation of Covid-19 Therapy) trial is the UK’s flagship Covid-19 treatment trial.

A range of treatments have been investigated so far with perhaps the biggest success story being dexamethasone; data shows that it reduces the risk of dying by one-third in ventilated patients and by one-fifth in patients receiving oxygen only.

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Dr Bryan Yates, the principal investigator for many of the Covid-19 studies at Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust.

Professor Chris Whitty, Chief Medical Officer for England and co-lead for the NIHR, has described it as ‘the most important trial result for Covid-19 so far’.

A total of 39,033 patients have been recruited to the RECOVERY trial across 180 research sites, with an average of 217 per site.

Northumbria Healthcare has managed almost double that at 431 – as part of 3,401 patients recruited across the North East and North Cumbria – and is among the top 10 recruiting sites in the country.

Bryan Yates, a consultant in respiratory medicine and critical care, who is principal investigator for many of the Trust’s Covid-19 studies, said: “RECOVERY is absolutely revolutionary research into a new disease.

“It’s been ground-breaking in terms of how pragmatic and straightforward it has been, and has resulted in many lives being saved.

“Ultimately, it has helped us care for our Covid patients better and meant that we have ensured more seriously ill patients have recovered and returned home to their loved ones.”

Across a range of other UPH studies between March 2020 and March 2021, the Trust has recruited 1,664 patients, as well as another approximately 900 participants to other trials – such as one that is looking at how Covid affects the clotting of the blood – which have not involved formal recording of numbers with NIHR, but all have helped increase understanding of the disease.

In 2019-20, researchers at Northumbria Healthcare recruited 3,050 participants into trials, covering everything from heart disease to cancer, but over the last year that has risen to more than 6,000, despite the fact that almost all non-Covid studies were temporarily paused to allow focus on the UPH trials such as RECOVERY.

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