This site is optimised for modern browsers. For the best experience, please use Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, or Microsoft Edge.

Case study: Katherine: taking part in COVID-19 research

Katherine Millbank, who spent two weeks in intensive care with COVID-19, took part in a trial of commonly used steroid dexamethasone to help her recover from the virus.

Mrs Millbank took part in the NIHR-supported Randomised Evaluation of COVID-19 Therapy (RECOVERY) trial - which tested several treatments - while in intensive care at Stoke Mandeville Hospital in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire. 

University of Oxford researchers found the steroid reduced risk of dying by a third in ventilated patients and a fifth in those receiving oxygen only. It has since been approved to treat COVID-19 patients in the NHS.

Mrs Millbank said: “It’s fantastic news that this drug works. Not just for me, but for the researchers, NHS and patients in hospital with this disease. I’m so pleased to find out that something is working to help us fight COVID-19.”

Mrs Millbank said of the onset of her illness: “I was under a thick blanket in the lounge and I was asking my husband to turn the fire on because I was shivering so much. My joints were aching, I had a cough. It was a scary time for me.”

She was taken to hospital and placed on ventilation after testing positive for COVID-19. She said: “The virus made me feel weak. I tried to have a sandwich and it felt like I was lifting a brick. I was exhausted after each bite.

“I remember thinking ‘I can’t fight this anymore, I’ve had enough of it’ but then I dreamt my husband was there telling me I was going to pull through, which helped me a lot.”

Mrs Millbank said: “A doctor asked if I wanted to take part in a research trial and I said ‘yes’, but I wasn’t really coherent so they called my husband for his consent.

“We’re all human beings and we all want to help each other. I’d tell others to take part in these trials as anyone can catch this virus, so everyone will benefit from their results.”