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Northampton General Hospital NHS Trust

Northampton General staff and patients contribute to major COVID breakthrough

Teams at Northampton General Hospital have played a key role in a major breakthrough for the treatment of COVID.

Dexamethosone, a low cost steroid, has been shown to significantly improve the outcome of patients diagnosed with COVID who need oxygen or ventilation support and reduce deaths by one third.

This discovery is thanks to a national programme that the hospital has been participating in to trial a range of potential COVID treatments. The research and development team at NGH were one of the first hospitals in the UK to sign up to the RECOVERY (Randomised Evaluation of COVid-19 thERapY) trial.

Michelle Spinks, Interim Head of Research and Development described how NGH has contributed to the discovery “Heading into the unknown is the nature of research and development work. We are used to testing new drugs, procedures and ways of working however COVID presented us with a whole new challenge.

“We had to adapt our ways of working, temporarily suspend current research and mobilise all of our resources at short notice to help to find a treatment for this virus. Along with many other hospitals we were keen to participate in the RECOVERY trial and the team were able to complete study set-up and recruitment in just 10 days”.

Since the beginning of the trial the hospital have successfully recruited over 240 patients into the trial and have been recognised in the top 5 hospitals nationally for their contribution to the research.

Dr Einas Elmahi is the Principal Investigator for the trial “Following a busy and tough few months we were delighted to receive news of a breakthrough thanks to the trial. From the preliminary results it has been identified that low-dose dexamethasone reduced deaths by one-third in ventilated patients with severe respiratory complications of COVID-19.

Dr Elmahi also stated: “This means that patients in the UK and across the world can now benefit from this low cost treatment. It’s a great feeling to know that through this research our staff and patients have been a part of this discovery and that our work will benefit people globally”.

The trials are still taking place at Northampton General and across the UK with the hope that further research can help to identify and develop new COVID treatments.

Michelle added: “To see some light at the end of what has been a very long tunnel is what we had been hoping for. For NGH to be in the top 10 recruiting hospitals is more than we had hoped for. It’s a testament to Team NGH and we will be forever grateful to the hardworking and dedicated staff who helped us to achieve this”.

Medical Director, Matthew Metcalfe said: From the outset of the COVID-19 health emergency NGH was committed to contributing to high quality research. I am deeply proud that our fabulous research and clinical teams have made such a significant contribution to this study which we now know will save many thousands of lives.”

Northampton General Hospital has a fully-functioning Research and Development Centre supported by funding from the NIHR (National Institute for Health Research) Clinical Research Network East Midlands.  Research nurses, research physicians, research co-ordinators and administrators and research and development office managers and our dedicated clinical trials pharmacists were focussed and determined to meet the challenges ahead.

More information about the RECOVERY trial can be found at 

You can watch a video from Dr Einas Elmahi and Dr Mohsin Zaman explaining the trial here:

Posted on Monday 29th June 2020
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