The NHS has already led the development of the first-ever treatment for Covid-19, dexamethasone, estimated to have saved one million lives worldwide.
The Recovery research project, which has been taking place across Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust since March 2020, is an international clinical trial that sees volunteers suffering from Covid-19 offered a variety of treatments to help find out which ones help improve patients recovery.
Ashley Solieri, group head of research for the Trust, said: “New treatments are always being added and removed from the trial as the research team in Oxford review the results to help identify treatments that may be beneficial for people hospitalised with suspected or confirmed Covid-19.”
The Trust is one of the 180 sites across the world involved in the research, which so far has seen over 39,000 people take part.
Through the project it has been discovered that hydroxychloroquine showed no clinical benefit and convalescent blood plasma had no convincing effects on clinical outcomes and they have been removed as treatments to fight the virus. It did however find that the steroid Dexamethasone was effective in reducing deaths by a third in those with severe respiratory complications caused by Covid.
Ashley explained why continued research is so important. “It can find answers to things that are unknown, filling in gaps in knowledge and changing the way healthcare professionals work. We have good evidence that Trusts involved in research have better patient outcomes. It benefits everyone and is making a real difference in people’s lives.
“It’s great to have almost 800 volunteers involved in this fight against Covid; everyone is playing their part. These amazing figures are down to the dedication of the research team and the amazing support of the clinical teams in the Trust.
“The research team are contributing to the national and international body of knowledge that will help determine the best treatment for this virus. The Trust is always looking for more people who have or have had Covid to take part in the important research.”
One of those who has volunteered is Carol Allen, from Aveley, a recovering Covid patient in Basildon Hospital. He praised the Recovery research team for all of the work they have been doing to help him recover from Covid. The 65-year-old was admitted to the hospital on January 12, after he kept collapsing at home whilst self-isolating. The team have trialled him with several different treatments.
He said: “They have been so good to me. They put me on a course of steroids and tried the blood plasma as well when I first came in. I’m still on oxygen and that’s down to the research that was done on me.
“They are all angels and I don’t think I would be here if it was not for them. It has been really scary. I’ve been okay because I know the support is there from them.”
If you would like to take part in the trial, please contact Basildon Hospital on 01268 524900, Southend Hospital on 01702 385669 and Broomfield Hospital on 01245 515136.