The Leicester COVID-19 research team were championed at the daily government COVID-19 press conference on Tuesday 16 June as being the top recruiter to the national RECOVERY trial. Earlier in the day, the RECOVERY team at the University of Oxford announced the major breakthrough that using the common steroid, dexamethasone, is an effective way to treat patients with severe coronavirus.
Dexamethasone was shown to reduce mortality in ventilated patients with COVID-19 by a third, and in patients requiring oxygen by a fifth. The steroid, normally used to treat asthma, chronic lung conditions and joint problems, can be given as a tablet or injection. It is affordable and readily available not only in this country but all over the world. It has now become the standard of care for hospitalised adults with COVID-19.
Leicester’s success was attributed to the joint effort between the staff at Leicester’s Hospitals, the University of Leicester, the Biomedical Research Centre and NIHR Leicester Clinical Research Facility, bringing together all their skills and expertise to take on the challenge posed by COVID-19.
Almost 500 patients who were treated at one of Leicester’s three acute hospitals – Leicester Royal Infirmary, Leicester General Hospital and Glenfield Hospital – signed up to take part in the research. That is more than twice the number of patients as the next highest recruiting centre in the UK.
Professor Chris Brightling, respiratory lead at the Leicester Biomedical Research Centre, said: “This is the news we have been waiting for: a treatment that reduces death in people hospitalised with severe COVID infection.”
He told the Leicester Mercury: “It absolutely is a breakthrough. It is the first time since this all started that I feel like we are winning this, like there is something we can do. The results were reported yesterday and we are already giving patients this treatment today. It is that big.” Read the full article here.
Leicester continues to lead the way in important research into COVID-19, recruiting over 50% of hospitalised patients with COVID-19 to an interventional trial, and over 95% to all studies into COVID (including observational studies). The national average for hospital recruitment into COVID interventional trials is 13%.