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Respiratory Medicine trials

As this is a Respiratory Pandemic virus, we in Respiratory Medicine have significantly increased our bed base from 20 to 48 to accommodate sick patients with COVID-19, who require additional oxygen support (you may have heard the term CPAP or high flow oxygen). This is the “pre-intensive care” population (so awake, but needing a lot of oxygen), and this has required four consultants in Respiratory to be on call at any time – so we have quadrupled our on call numbers! This is being rolled out for the next two months to try to cope with the surge of cases. We also receive patients who have been to the ICU but need additional care, to free up beds there.

We are actively recruiting to studies which will hopefully identify treatments that might work in this disease. These are “randomised controlled trials” so that some patients receive treatment and others receive standard care, to allow fair comparisons and for us to be certain if something works. The studies are recruiting nationally (the main one is called RECOVERY) and includes treatment with steroids, antivirals, hydroxycholoroquine and an antibiotic called azithromycin. Every patient we treat is considered for these studies.

I am involved in two committees (one national and one local) which try to prioritise what studies should be done in COVID-19, understanding the biology and picking the studies most likely to impact outcomes for our patients as soon as possible. I am also the Principal Investigator for a small study that is looking at the use of a nebulised drug (interferon). This drug is produced by the body and helps to prevent viral replication. We will start recruiting patients to this study and treat them with a once daily nebuliser to see if this can reduce the progression and harm from the disease. Finally, I am involved in designing a study that will try to use already collected data when patients are admitted to hospital to predict how a patient’s clinical course will go, using information from the electronic patient record and radiology (chest X-rays and CT).

Professor Najib Rahman (1994, Medicine), Supernumerary Fellow and Clinical Tutor in Medicine, Professor of Respiratory Medicine and Director of the Oxford Respiratory Trials Unit.

Are you involved?
If you are involved in research or frontline work relating to COVID-19 that you would like to bring to the attention of the Univ community worldwide, please email communications@univ.ox.ac.uk.

Published: 4 May 2020

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