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Wessex NHS patients contribute key data to practice-changing COVID-19 study

Wessex NHS patients contribute key data to practice-changing COVID-19 study

Patients, NHS trusts and local research teams across the Wessex region have contributed important data to new global research which shows that corticosteroids can significantly improve outcomes for severely ill patients with COVID-19.

The research papers published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), reinforce evidence that these inexpensive and widely available drugs improve outcomes for the most critically ill patients with the disease. One paper suggests the risk of death can be reduced by up to 20%.

The papers include findings from the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) supported REMAP-CAP study, which is being conducted across 15 countries around the world and led in the UK from the NIHR Imperial Biomedical Research Centre.

Working closely together to help deliver rapid recruitment, NHS trusts and the NIHR’s Clinical Research Network (NIHR CRN), and research institutes from the devolved nations helped recruit 71% of all global study participants from right across the UK. While the local NIHR Clinical Research Network for Wessex enrolled more than 30 participants to this vital, practice-changing study - at NHS hospitals across the region.

The results from the REMAP-CAP trial show a high probability that among critically ill patients with COVID-19, treatment with a seven-day course of hydrocortisone improved outcomes such as survival and more rapid recovery, compared with no hydrocortisone treatment.

An additional paper, co-ordinated by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and led by researchers at the University of Bristol and the NIHR’s Bristol Biomedical Research Centre, provides a meta-analysis (evidence summary) of global steroid use across seven randomised controlled trials (RCTs) in 12 countries spanning five continents. It also included data drawn from REMAP-CAP and the NIHR-funded RECOVERY trial, which has already shown that the steroid dexamethasone can be successfully used in treatment of moderate to severe Covid-19. It concludes that corticosteroids can reduce the risk of death in the most ill patients by up to 20%.

Dr David Pogson, a Critical Care Consultant at Portsmouth Hospitals and the regional ICU research lead for CRN Wessex, welcomed the findings of REMAP- CAP:

“This trials result offers real tangible benefits for our most dangerously ill patients. It may also result in patients recovering faster from COVID syndrome and help reduce pressure on precious ICU beds. I would like to sincerely thank patients and their relatives who agreed to take part in our trial. They have helped save lives. Our research teams have worked flexibly and tirelessly during the COVID emergency. This result is most encouraging for all of us caring for critically ill COVID patients.'