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North East NHS patients contribute key data to global COVID-19 treatment study

Patients, NHS trusts and local research teams across the North East 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), reinforces evidence that these inexpensive and widely available drugs improve outcomes for the most critically ill coronavirus patients.

One paper suggests the risk of death can be reduced by up to 20 per cent.

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 in Newcastle.

Working 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 per cent of all global study participants from right across the UK.

The local NIHR Clinical Research Network North East and North Cumbria enrolled a total of 95 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.

Morag Burton, chief operating officer for NIHR Clinical Research Network North East and North Cumbria, said: “This is a fantastic achievement both across the country and within the North East and North Cumbria.

“I feel very proud of the staff who are committed to delivering high quality research for our communities and have achieved such significant success to support the development of treatments and understanding of the coronavirus.”

Professor Jonathan Van-Tam, Deputy Chief Medical Officer, added: “These findings offer further evidence that corticosteroids can be an important part of COVID-19 treatment for severe patients.

“Both the REMAP-CAP and the Bristol University papers show the important work that has been done here in the UK by researchers in making further major contributions towards the international evidence.

“It is impressive to see so many UK participants willing to take part in studies, and able to volunteer due to the rapid recruitment response of the NIHR’s Clinical Research Network. Research such as this, will make the difference in controlling this virus.”