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Coronavirus: First life-saving drug was trialled at Barts Health NHS Trust

PUBLISHED: 12:00 19 June 2020

The first drug found to help save the lives of coronavirus patients was trialled at Barts Health. Picture: Peter Byrne/PA

The first drug found to help save the lives of coronavirus patients was trialled at Barts Health. Picture: Peter Byrne/PA

PA Wire/PA Images

The first drug found to help save the lives of coronavirus patients was trialled at Barts Health.

David Lieberman is the trial manager for the study and senior research practitioner at The Royal London Hospital. Picture: Barts Health NHS TrustDavid Lieberman is the trial manager for the study and senior research practitioner at The Royal London Hospital. Picture: Barts Health NHS Trust

A study by the NHS trust – which runs hospitals in Newham and Tower Hamlets – and Queen Mary University of London found that the steroid dexamethasone improved survival rates as part of a clinical trial.

The low dose treatment has already been recommended by Barts Health as a standard of care for Covid-19 patients in need of oxygen or more intensive care.

David Lieberman, trial manager for the study and senior research practitioner at The Royal London Hospital stated: “It is an honour to be involved with the trial and working with so many dedicated professionals.

“It is their hard work and dedication that has helped determine that dexamethasone could indeed save lives of some of our sickest patients.”

Infectious diseases consultant, Dr Simon Tiberi, is principal investigator for RECOVERY at Barts Health. Picture: Barts Health NHS TrustInfectious diseases consultant, Dr Simon Tiberi, is principal investigator for RECOVERY at Barts Health. Picture: Barts Health NHS Trust

Clinical research staff have enrolled more than 130 patients on the study across the trust’s hospitals, including The Nightingale, The Royal London, Whipps Cross and Newham.

The trial is still open and recruiting Covid-19 patients from across east London.

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The randomised clinical trial named RECOVERY, standing for Randomised Evaluation of COVid-19 thERapY, started in March.

Professor Chloe Orkin is clinical lead for Covid-19 research at the trust. Picture: Barts Health NHS TrustProfessor Chloe Orkin is clinical lead for Covid-19 research at the trust. Picture: Barts Health NHS Trust

It has tested a range of potential treatments for patients admitted to hospital with the virus including dexamethasone.

Principal investigator for RECOVERY at Barts Health and infectious diseases consultant, Dr Simon Tiberi, said: “We cannot effectively develop new treatments without research and, thanks to the RECOVERY trial, COVID-19 is a little less scary now.”

Professor Chloe Orkin, clinical lead for Covid-19 research at the trust said she felt proud to be delivering a range of Covid-19 trials at Barts.

“It is so important that our very diverse communities are offered the opportunity of taking part in potentially life-saving trials.

“Our hospitals serve more than 2.6million people in east London, many of whom are socially disadvantaged,” she said.

The study, led by the University of Oxford, found that dexamethasone reduced the risk of dying by one-third in ventilated patients and by one-fifth in other patients receiving oxygen only.

Overall, dexamethasone reduced the risk of 28-day mortality by 17 per cent with a highly significant trend showing greatest benefit among those on ventilators.

No evidence of benefit was found for patients who did not receive oxygen.


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