International Clinical Trials Day takes place every year and is celebrated around the world in May to recognise the day that James Lind started what is often considered the first randomised clinical trial aboard a ship on May 20, 1747.
Clinical Trials Day provides the opportunity to recognise all those the who contribute to clinical trials and thank them for what they do every day to improve health.
This day of celebration also provides us with a unique opportunity to raise awareness of clinical trials. Our research teams would normally organise various events and activities across the Trust and locality but this year, due to the ongoing restrictions, it will not be possible to celebrate in the usual way.
However, it is perhaps more important than ever this year to recognise what an enormous contribution clinicals trials and research has made in our fight to beat Covid-19.
In EKHUFT alone, over 3400 participants have taken part in Covid-19 research studies. We have supported 10 studies so far, including both observational and interventional studies. These ranged from testing new diagnostics, researching genetics relating to Covid, and testing potential treatments. EKHUFT staff also helped to support a Covid vaccine trial which was carried out in Maidstone.
Over 300 patients took part in the RECOVERY trial which treated various different treatments for Covid. As a result, two effective treatments were identified: Dexamethasone and, more recently, Tocilizumab. Both of these treatments were found to improve outcomes significantly for the sickest patients with Covid-19. Importantly, the trial also identified a number of drugs that were not effective so that these could be excluded from treatment in the future.
The BERRY trial – a homegrown study developed by Miss Jessica Evans, Director of Research & Innovation, was also opened. This trial is looking at the effects of Elderberry liquid on Covid-19 and has received much publicity across the region and indeed the country!
Many of the Covid-19 studies continue and remain vitally important in providing the evidence to further improve our understanding of the virus and the best ways to treat it. We are also in the process of opening our first Long-Covid study which will be looking at the long-term effects of Covid- 19.
The Research & Innovation team would like to express our sincere thanks to everyone who has helped support the Covid-19 research that has taken place in EKHUFT over the past 15 months. We are particularly grateful to all the patients who have selflessly agreed to take part in studies to improve Covid-19 treatment and care in the future.