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More than 180 Midlands patients take part in coronavirus trial which found first life-saving drug

By Jordan Reynolds | Sandwell | Coronavirus | Published:

More than180 patients across the Black Country and Staffordshire have taken part in the coronavirus trial which found the first life-saving drug.

The drug, dexamethasone, is a major breakthrough in the fight against the deadly virus, UK experts say.

It is a cheap and widely available steroid which can help save the lives of patients seriously ill with coronavirus.

It has now been revealed more than 100 patients were recruited for the trial in Sandwell and West Birmingham NHS Trust hospital, 81 across The Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust, and an known number of patients at the University Hospitals of North Midlands Trust and The Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust.

Diane Wake, chief executive, The Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust, said: "The Dudley Group has been very active in the national Recovery trial, which has been looking at a number of possible treatments for Covid-19.

More Covid-19 coverage:

"Our research and development department has so far recruited 81 patients for this study, of which 18 patients were randomised to the Dexamethasone trial.

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"Our R&D team has an excellent track record of recruiting patients for treatment trials and we are proud to have been one of the higher recruiting district general hospitals in the Midlands for this study.

"Well done and thank you to the R&D team and also to the patients who have taken part in this trial, which has had such a positive outcome. The work continues to trial other treatments for Covid-19."

'Profound impact'

A total of 108 patients took part in the trial at Sandwell and West Birmingham NHS Trust.

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Sarb Clare, acute medical consultant and principle investigator for the Recovery trial at Sandwell and West Birmingham NHS Trust, said: “We have successfully recruited 108 patients to the Recovery trial and are very pleased to have contributed to such an important study that will have a profound impact on the care of our patients.

"We are incredibly proud to be part of such a major breakthrough in finding a treatment for Covid-19.”

University Hospitals of North Midlands Trust confirmed patients have taken part in the trial but could not say how many.

Dr Timothy Kemp, University Hospitals of North Midlands Trust consultant for infectious diseases and principal investigator for the Recovery trial, said: “It’s fantastic that we have been able to play our part in the discovery of Dexamethasone as a treatment for coronavirus and we’re very grateful to all the patients who have taken part in the Recovery trial.

"This has been very much a team effort, with many staff from the infectious diseases, medical, and critical care departments working together with the research department to ensure as many patients as possible were involved.

"We look forward to further investigation of this and other potential treatments for Covid-19 and the University Hospitals of North Midlands will continue to play a very active role within research into Covid-19.

“While it is very exciting that dexamethasone has been shown to be able to save lives, it’s important for us all to remember that there is still on-going transmission in Staffordshire and whilst the overall numbers of new cases has reduced over recent weeks, we should all continue to play our part and follow the national recommendations for social distancing and hand-washing as much as is possible.”

Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust did not provide a response.

Jordan Reynolds

By Jordan Reynolds
Reporter - @jreynolds_star

Senior reporter at the Express & Star.

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