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Local NHS Hospitals take part in international study to reduce baby hospital admissions

HARMONIE study participant

NHS hospitals in Yorkshire and Humber are taking part in an international study that investigates whether it’s possible to reduce the chance of babies becoming seriously unwell with respiratory syncytial virus.

Commonly known as RSV, the virus causes cold-like symptoms in older children and adults, but can cause inflammation in the lower airways (bronchiolitis) in babies, which makes them short of breath. They can also have difficulties feeding and develop a rattly cough and /or wheezing.

The HARMONIE international study will assess the benefits of giving a drug – called Nirsevimab – to healthy babies under 12 months during the winter months when RSV is most common.

Within the past few weeks the HARMONIE study opened locally at the following NHS Hospitals:

  • York and Scarborough Teaching Hospitals
  • Hull and East Yorkshire Women and Children's Hospital - Hull Royal Infirmary
  • Sheffield Hospital NHS Foundation Trust - Sheffield Children's Hospital
  • Barnsley Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
  • Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust - Bradford Royal Infirmary

If you or anyone you know is interested in taking part in the study, please visit the Harmonie website and select your nearest most convenient location to attend the Harmonie clinic:

Regular clinics are run by a number of our consultant paediatricians within the region who will discuss the benefits of being involved in the study with parents of under 12 months old babies.

The first babies in our region took part in the HARMONIE study in York & Bradford.

Dr Dominic Smith, the Principal Investigator for the HARMONIE study at York and Scarborough Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, said:

"We are delighted to now be able to recruit participants into the HARMONIE study. The York and Scarborough hospital research team have developed a lot of experience of managing clinical trials to develop new treatments. 

“The team has worked hard to set up HARMONIE so participation can be offered to local families in time for the expected increase in RSV infections in the winter months. It has been well received by new parents with many families registering to take part from the study start up in September. Our first research clinic appointments were fully booked.

“The HARMONIE study will help us to find out how well a one-off immunisation protects babies from RSV. We have very few treatment or prevention options for this disease. A reduction in the rates of  infection would make a great difference to babies in their first 2 years and also help reduce admissions to children’s wards during the busiest months of the year.’’ 

Dr Sam Oddie, the Principal Investigator for the HARMONIE study at Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said: 

 “In Bradford we have a lot of experience giving parents the chance to join in comparisons of treatment, and are delighted to be able to offer participation to families.  If the study goes as well as we hope, it will reduce the numbers of babies getting poorly and coming into hospital for oxygen and tube feeding. RSV can cause a nasty illness – we hope to do our bit in minimising its impact.  Families have been receptive to HARMONIE, and we anticipate many further families joining the research”

More participants are booked for the HARMONIE clinics in Barnsley, Hull, and Sheffield in the next coming days.

Dr Bhimsaria, the Principal Investigator for the HARMONIE study at Barnsley Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, said: 

“Bronchiolitis caused by RSV is a very common and contagious viral infection amongst infants and young children, particularly during autumn and winter months. We get many babies attending hospital with this infection with quite a few needing prolonged admission for Oxygen treatment and/or support with feeding. Many babies go on to need further treatments including support for breathing and some needing intensive care treatment.

“We would strongly encourage all parents to consider taking part in this trial which is in its late stages as there is a good chance that we should be able to prevent many infants from the ill effects and hospitalisation due to this virus once this treatment is proven to be effective.’’

Dr Khan, the Principal Investigator for the HARMONIE study at Hull and East Yorkshire Women and Children's Hospital, said: 

“Bronchiolitis is the most common cause of hospital admissions of infants in developed countries and Respiratory Syncytial Viral is the most common viral cause of Bronchiolitis. We need to work together to prevent our healthy infants from this nasty virus. I believe, through HARMONIE trial we will be able to successfully assess the effectiveness of the durg (Nirsevimab) in preventing Bronchiolitis caused by Respiratory Syncytial Virus. Hence I encourage all parents of healthy infants under 12 months of age to please come forward and register for the trial. We have setup regular clinics at Hull Royal Infirmary for HARMONIE trial.

Parents can find out more by looking online at the Harmonie website: