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Island doctors support COVID-19 RECOVERY trial

Island doctors support COVID-19 RECOVERY trial

Oli and Rishi are junior doctors based on the acute medical and COVID-19 admission wards at St Mary’s Hospital on the Isle of Wight.

Since the outbreak of coronavirus, they have been working alongside colleagues at the Isle of Wight NHS Trust to support the delivery of nationally prioritised, urgent public health research into COVID-19.

Oli and Rishi have been recruiting patients into the NIHR-funded and supported RECOVERY trial, which is testing a range of potential treatments for COVID-19.

The trial, which was established in March 2020, has enrolled more than 11,500 participants from over 175 NHS hospitals in the UK.

In June, the RECOVERY trial team announced that the steroid dexamethasone had been identified as the first drug to improve survival rates in hospitalised COVID-19 patients with respiratory complications.

Oli and Rishi explain how they have supported the trial: “We were mainly recruiting patients on our ward and around the hospital. This involved seeing positive patients and those who had high clinical suspicion of having COVID, and explaining what the trial was and why it was being done. We also explained the risk and benefits of the different treatments and the evidence base behind their use in COVID.”

Highlighting some of the challenges of recruiting to a research trial in such unprecedented times, Oli and Rishi added: “Many patients were enthusiastic and excited to participate in research that could potentially help with the ongoing treatment of future patients affected by COVID.

“There were also a few patients who, despite explaining what the trial involved, still felt apprehensive about being on treatments involved in a trial.

“It was also challenging treating patients who in some circumstances may have been quite unwell, and were not able to be seen by their relatives in person due to hospital visiting restrictions. This made communications with relatives challenging, and also meant obtaining written consent from a next of kin was not possible.”

Reflecting on their experience, Oli and Rishi conclude: “Working in a small hospital on the Isle of Wight, we aren’t involved as often with research perhaps as other areas of the country.

“It’s been an exciting opportunity to take part and contribute to research that could help guide the future treatment of COVID.

“Evidence based medicine is a key part of making sure the care we deliver for patients is of the best standard, and research such as the RECOVERY trial is an example of how we can be involved in this process on the island!”

The RECOVERY trial is supported by a grant to the University of Oxford from UK Research and Innovation and the NIHR, and by core funding provided by the NIHR Oxford Biomedical Research CentreWellcome,  the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Department for International Development, Health Data Research UK, the Medical Research Council Population Health Research Unit, and NIHR Clinical Trials Unit Support Funding.

Find out more about the RECOVERY trial by visiting