Forth Valley Staff and Patients Contribute to Breakthrough in COVID-19 Treatment

NHS Forth Valley staff and patients have contributed to a major breakthrough in the treatment of COVID-19.

Since 10th April 2020, staff at Forth Valley Royal Hospital have been participating in a UK-wide trial known as RECOVERY designed to test the effectiveness of existing medicines such as steroids, antivirals and antimalarial drugs.

This trial has recently demonstrated that a commonly used steroid (dexamethasone) can significantly improve outcomes for patients with COVID-19 who require oxygen or ventilation, and that the drug hydroxychloroquine does not provide any benefit in the treatment of patients hospitalised with the condition.

So far more than 30 local patients have taken part in the ongoing trial as a result of the collaboration between respiratory physicians, infectious diseases and intensive care consultants, junior doctors, pharmacy teams and NHS Forth Valley’s Clinical Research Team.

Local principal investigator for the RECOVERY trial and NHS Forth Valley Consultant Respiratory Physician, Dr Mark Spears, said: “Clinical research is incredibly important and without large scale trials like this we would not be able to identify effective new treatments. So far in Forth Valley we have recruited 33 patients and I would like to thank everyone who participated and all my colleagues who have supported the trial over the last few months.

The RECOVERY trial is just one of several clinical trials NHS Forth Valley is taking part in to identify potential treatments for COVID-19, with the site recently opening a trial called STOP-COVID, led by the University of Dundee, which will test the effectiveness of a novel medication known as Brensocatib. Forth Valley Royal Hospital also awaits a decision on our taking part in trials testing proposed vaccines for COVID-19, and a trial examining the ability of antibody tests to predict immunity to the infection.