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UHNM amongst ten leading trusts for COVID-19 clinical studies

Pictured from left: Minnie Gellamucho, Research Practitioner, Jo Tomlinson, Senior Research Practitioner and Martin Booth, Assistant Research Practitioner

UHNM is one of the top three trusts in the West Midlands and top 10 nationally for recruiting patients to COVID-19 studies. The trust is also one of the top recruiters to the REMAP-CAP (Randomised, Embedded, Multi-factorial, Adaptive Platform Trial for Community-Acquired Pneumonia) trial within the UK. REMAP-CAP is part of the NIHR list of nationally-prioritised COVID-19 studies which aim to generate evidence on various treatment options with a view to reducing deaths and morbidity in critically unwell patients with COVID-19.

More than 9,000 people have been recruited to 20 different COVID-19 research studies in the West Midlands region to date. The national figure for recruitment is approaching 90,000, with 24 COVID-19 studies currently open and supported by the National Institute for Health Research.

The region is currently recruiting more participants to COVID-19 studies than any other.

Jo Tomlinson, Senior Research Nurse, said: “It goes without saying that all of the team involved in achieving this are working extremely hard and we are all thrilled that UHNM is leading in such a fantastic way. We would like to say a heartfelt thank you to patients and their relatives for being so keen to take part in trials at such a difficult time. To be so supportive of COVID-19 trials and helping the NHS is truly heart-warming and a real boost. We also want to say thank you to the clinical teams for being so welcoming and supportive of the patient-facing research delivery team coming on to wards in order to approach and recruit patients to the COVID-19 trials. We are extremely proud to be part of such a national effort.”

Professor Jeremy Kirk, Clinical Director for the National Institute for Health Research Clinical Research Network West Midlands, said: “In these extraordinary times it is both amazing and very heartening to see the hard-pressed NHS staff nationally, and especially in the West Midlands, coming together to recruit as many patients with COVID-19 as possible into these ground-breaking trials. Our collaborations are offering research opportunities to thousands of patients and we thank everyone who is taking part.”

As part of the REMAP-CAP trial, different treatment options are being investigated at Royal Stoke’s critical care unit, including medications which modulate the immune function as well as convalescent plasma (the antibody-rich plasma of someone who has recovered from COVID-19).

Pictured: Dr Ram Matsa, Consultant in Intensive Care Medicine and members of the Research team

Dr Ram Matsa, a consultant in intensive care medicine, is Principal Investigator for the study at Royal Stoke.

Dr Matsa said: “The good things about REMAP-CAP is that several different treatments can be tested at the same time under one ‘platform’ – and more treatments can be added as new evidence emerges. For example, we have recently started to trial convalescent plasma. The trial was set up within a very short time during the challenge of the pandemic and its success so far is due to the willingness of patients to take part and the dedication and hard work of staff in research and development at Royal Stoke.”