Therapeutic Drug Trials

A successful cure for Coronavirus, be it a vaccine or some other mechanism, is the grail we all seek for our long-term health and safety.   Whilst that mission is carried out around the world the NHS is looking at how to diminish the worst effects of the disease, giving us a better chance of recovery rather than succumbing, if we do become infected.

A Government funded trial called ‘RECOVERY’ is currently testing the efficacy of five existing drug treatments on the Covid-19 virus and I am very proud of Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust for playing their part in this crucial research.

The RECOVERY trial at Maidstone and Pembury Hospitals opened on 2nd April and has so far inducted 41 patients. Those 41 patients have been randomly allocated either the established standard treatments or one of six drugs: Dexamethasone, Hydroxychloroquine, Liponavir/Ritonavir, Azithromycin, Tocilizumab.  The results are being assiduously recorded and shared with the national study and I pay tribute to those patients, their families and the clinicians involved for their huge contribution to this crucial research.

Last week, it was reported that Dexamethasone, which is cheap to manufacture and widely available, is the world’s first coronavirus treatment proven to reduce the risk of death. The study, which includes records from five patients treated in Maidstone and Pembury, found that Dexamethasone reduces mortality in Covid-19 patients being treated on a ventilator by as much as 35%, and by 20% in patients who are being treated with oxygen.  Clinicians at Maidstone and Pembury Hospitals are now able to use Dexamethasone, where appropriate, in the management of patients with Covid-19.

This represents a real breakthrough for the most seriously affected existing Coronavirus patients; It also gives those who are unfortunate enough to suffer the infection in the future much greater hope of survival as the clinical trials continue for further treatments.