In response to the coronavirus pandemic, the Government, through the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), launched a national urgent public health response which included starting a number of clinical trials which were fast-tracked to ensure that as many Covid-19 patients were recruited as possible across the UK.

Airedale NHS Foundation Trust was part of this response along with all other acute NHS Trusts in the Yorkshire and Humber region. Most other research studies were suspended during this time and priority was given to Covid-19 studies including the RECOVERY trial, which has had some promising early results. The RECOVERY trial involved randomising very sick coronavirus patients and giving them a number of different drug interventions to be compared with usual care. A low-dose steroid, Dexamethasone, has now been found to significantly reduce the risk of death from coronavirus for seriously ill patients who are being treated with a ventilator or are on oxygen. It is now recommended it is used across the country as standard care for high risk hospitalised patients with the virus. Dexamethasone does not appear to help people with milder symptoms of coronavirus who do not need help with their breathing.

At Airedale, the principal investigator for the RECOVERY trial was ICU consultant Dr Tamsin Gregory who worked alongside senior research sister Emma Dooks. A total of 19 patients were recruited to the study at Airedale and thousands were recruited across the country. Emma Dooks said,

“It’s a privilege to be part of this national research trial, and I’m so pleased that there has been a breakthrough. We can now use these positive results to treat coronavirus patients and manage the pandemic going forward. Thank you to each and every one of the patients who took part – your involvement will help to save lives.”

Dr Tamsin Gregory

Within the region the research and development teams at Airedale, Leeds Teaching Hospitals, Bradford Teaching Hospitals, Calderdale and Huddersfield, Mid Yorkshire, York, Hull and Sheffield all took part in this ground-breaking study with the support of the NIHR Clinical Research Network for Yorkshire and the Humber.