15 May 2020

Shropshire’s acute hospitals are playing a key role in vital research into COVID-19 and the impact of the pandemic.

Helen Moore, Clinical Trials Manager and SaTH’s Lead Research Nurse.

The Research & Innovation and Clinical Trials team at The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust (SaTH) is at the forefront of research into learning more about the virus and finding an effective treatment

Almost 800 COVID-19 patients are taking part in clinical research studies at SaTH, which runs the Princess Royal Hospital (PRH) and the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital (RSH).

Dr Nigel Capps, Director of Research and Innovation at SaTH, said: “As yet there are no proven treatments for COVID-19 and we urgently need to find cures if we are going to save lives. We are harnessing our expertise to support cutting edge research into COVID-19.

“We have opened seven studies in response to this pandemic with the aim of helping clinicians and scientists develop a better understanding of COVID-19; it’s presenting symptoms, how and why the virus affects certain people more than others and hopefully to help to develop effective treatments.”

The seven studies taking place at SaTH are:

  1. The ISARIC (International Severe Acute Respiratory and emerging Infection Consortium) study. All patients who test positive for COVID-19 are enrolled onto the study to gain a better understanding of the virus and any risk factors which may affect outcomes for our patients. SaTH has recruited more than 170 patients into this important study which is being led by Dr James Moon, Consultant Anaesthetist and Intensivist.
  1. The PRIEST (Pandemic Respiratory Infection Emergency System Triage) study. All patients coming through SaTH’s two Emergency Departments with suspected COVID-19 are entered into this study which looks at how best to triage patients with respiratory infections through our emergency care system. Dr Adrian Marsh, A&E Consultant, is leading on this study,

    Dr Nigel Capps

    which has recruited over 550 patients so far.

  1. The GENOMICC (Genetics of Mortality in Critical Care) study. This study looks at the genetics of those patients with COVID-19 who have to be intubated on the Intensive Therapy Unit. This study involves taking a blood sample from the patient which is then analysed to try and identify specific genetic variants which may be linked to mortality from the virus. Dr Nigel Capps, Consultant Chemical Pathologist and Research and Innovation Director, is leading on this study which has recruited 19 patients.
  1. The UKOSS (UK Obstetric Surveillance System) study. This study is looking at Maternal and Perinatal Outcomes of Pandemic Influenza or Novel Coronavirus in Pregnancy. This data collection study is collecting data on all pregnant women diagnosed with COVID-19 at any stage in pregnancy assessing treatments, and outcomes in the course of routine care. It is being led at SaTH by Dr Adam Gornall, Consultant Obstetrician.
  1. The RECOVERY (Randomised Evaluation of COVID-19 Therapy) trial. This is being run by Oxford University and involves assessing the effectiveness of licensed drugs added to

    Dr James Moon

    standard care. These include Lopinavir-Ritonavir (used to treat HIV); Dexamethasone (a steroid), Azithromycin (an antibiotic), Hydroxychloroquine (used to treat malaria) and Tocilizumab (a drug which blocks the immune response). SaTH has recruited over 40 patients into this study and nationally over 9,800 patients have been recruited into this exciting trial.

  1. The RECOVERY RS (Respiratory Support) trial. This trial is being run by The University of Warwick and is looking at the most effective ways of delivering oxygen to patients.
  1. The PAN-COVID (Pregnancy and Neonatal Outcomes in COVID-19) study. This is being run by Imperial College London. It is a global registry looking to learn more about coronavirus in pregnancy and neonates with the aim of understanding its natural history and guiding prevention and treatment.

Sister Helen Moore, Clinical Trials Manager and SaTH’s Lead Research Nurse, said: “This pandemic has raised the profile of research and why it is so important to us all. We are really pleased with the response from our patients and how keen they are to be involved.”

Dr Arne Rose, Medical Director at SaTH, said: “These are truly exceptional times, but SaTH is contributing significantly to the wealth of knowledge with the international aim of combating COVID-19.

“This couldn’t have happened without the huge effort put in by all members of our Research and Innovation and Clinical Trials team, but most importantly our clinicians, ward staff and other departments such as pharmacy.”