The Research & Innovation team at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals has recruitment figures of more than 675, with over 500 patients taking part in studies and clinical trials to find treatments for Covid-19.
The studies are supported by the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR), the largest funders of clinical research in the UK, and the Department of Health and Social Care.
These government funders, as well as the Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty, Head of the NIHR, and Professor Stephen Powis, NHS England Medical Director, have mandated the NHS to work on over 30 national studies, classing them as an ‘urgent public health priority’.
Paul Brown, Head of R&I at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Developing these trials involves tremendous effort from the staff in research and the hospital, as well as our colleagues at the University of Central Lancashire, whose expertise has been brilliant. It is a fantastic collaborative effort and really brings home the importance of research in medicine and how it can save lives, not just in times like these, but every day.”
Nichola Verstraelen, Clinical Team Lead Matron for Research at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Our team of nurses, midwives and allied health professionals has quickly set up systems to offer these trials to all patients that are diagnosed with Covid-19. Alongside our clinical colleagues caring for patients, the research nurse/midwife and AHP teams are working around the clock to find out how this virus works and how best to treat it.”
Dr Shond Laha, Intensivist at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust working on these studies, said: “These are excellent opportunities to find the best treatments to improve outcomes. These trials are designed to identify interventions that appear to be working well and recruit more patients, giving us robust information on outcomes and side effects.”
The research team is also gathering essential information on symptoms in women during pregnancy, patients undergoing general surgery and patients with cancer. All of this information helps researchers to understand why certain people contract the virus, what symptoms people display and how the virus affects different people along the progression of their illness.
There are over 45,000 Covid-19 research patients in studies across England so far. Lancashire Teaching Hospitals are hopeful that the NIHR Lancashire Clinical Research Facility based at Royal Preston will be able to offer vaccine trials when they have been developed.