More than 50 Fylde coast patients recruited to landmark Coronavirus research trial

Jason Cupitt

RESEARCH staff at Blackpool Victoria Hospital have recruited more than 50 people to take part in a landmark study for COVID-19 patients.

The patients have been recruited to the RECOVERY Trial, a large study classed as a national priority clinical trial by Chief Medical Officer (CMO), Professor Chris Whitty. The UK is still lacking proven, effective, treatments for Covid-19 so it is essential that we study which medicines work and which ones don’t.

The Blackpool RECOVERY study has been led by Dr Jason Cupitt, Consultant Anaesthetist and Critical Care Lead, supported by the Research and Development Team.

He said ‘To have recruited more than 50 patients in just four weeks has been a magnificent effort by all of our clinical and research staff working together to offer research opportunities to patients during this extraordinary time. The RECOVERY study has recruited more than 10,000 patients nationwide and I am pleased to see how Blackpool has contributed to this national effort.’’

Blackpool has also joined the fight against Coronavirus by recruiting COVID-19 patients to participate in a ground-breaking new study of the disease led by the partnership between the GenOMICC (Genetics of Susceptibility and Mortality In Critical Care) Study Consortium (the University of Edinburgh) and Genomics England.

This study, announced by the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Matt Hancock,  will help to better understand the virus’s varied effects on people and support the search for treatments. The study aims to sequence the genomes of 20,000 people who are severely ill with COVID-19.

Dr Cupitt added: “This important study looks at the DNA of people with severe infections within intensive care. It is critical that we find the genes that cause some people to be more poorly in order to help us develop better treatments for patients in the future.’’

Blackpool has already recruited 18 patients to the Genomic Study and has been congratulated by the study team for being one of the top 20 highest recruiting ICU sites out of 170 sites nationally over the last two weeks.

Chris Wigley, CEO of Genomics England said: “NHS Trusts are absolutely vital to the national response to this terrible pandemic, so I am extremely pleased that Blackpool has joined our efforts to gain new insights into how this virus affects us.

“With their help, and with the support and understanding of thousands of patients and their families, we hope we will be able to identify treatments which have the best chance of success in clinical trials, and build on the work of the 100,000 Genomes Project to develop strong infrastructure for the future.”

Dr Angie Parker, Research Manager at the Trust, said: “I want to personally thank our Consultants, research doctors, nursing and administrative staff as well as the Respiratory Outreach Team, ward and ICU colleagues who have supported all of our COVID trials.

“A special thank you goes to all of our patients who have consented to our studies as without their commitment none of this would have been possible.’’

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