NEWCASTLE Hospitals is calling on volunteers to sign-up to clinical trials that aim to find ways of preventing people from becoming seriously ill with COVID-19.
The trust is appealing for people living in Newcastle and the surrounding area to sign-up if they have received a positive COVID-19 result in the last five days and have mild symptoms.
Patients will be invited to attend trials at the National Institute of Health Research Patient Recruitment Centre: Newcastle (NIHR PRC: Newcastle), which is part of Newcastle Hospitals.
The PRC: Newcastle is a standalone facility at the Campus for Ageing and Vitality which houses dedicated space, medical expertise and purpose-designed facilities to deliver clinical trials and research studies.
The trials will involve an initial consultation and assessment to make sure participants are suitable for the programme. They will then be given treatment, usually medication in the form of tablets, to take at home, and followed up closely by NHS staff.
Patients are permitted to leave their home during their isolation period to attend the trials and COVID-safe protocols are in place the centre. Patients must use their own transport to travel directly to and from the centre without stopping on their journey.
Dr Brendan Payne, consultant in infectious diseases & virology, said: “Clinical trials and research have already helped us find effective treatments for patients who are ill enough to be hospitalised with COVID.
It would be even better if we also had treatments that could be given very early to prevent people becoming ill enough to need admitting to hospital.
“While we have made excellent progress in finding a vaccine, unfortunately some people are still going to catch COVID over the coming months. It remains as important as ever to find long-term solutions to treat COVID-19 and help prevent people from becoming seriously ill, especially those with underlying health conditions.
“We are urging residents who have received a positive test in the last five days and have mild symptoms to sign up for this important study. Taking part could make a real difference to tackling this virus and potentially saving lives.”
Sharron Thompson, who works at the Royal Victoria Infirmary, took part in the trial after receiving a positive COVID-19 test.
“I experienced mild symptoms of COVID-19 but felt compelled to take part in the trials having witnessed the impact of the virus on people around me,” she said.
“My first visit to the Patient Recruitment Centre started with a general health check and I found staff friendly and professional. After my health assessment, I was given tablets to take and had to keep a diary of how I felt each day. I attended the centre weekly for around six weeks and will be followed up in the coming months.
“I wouldn’t hesitate to take part in clinical trials again. Knowing that I could make a difference to how we treat COVID-19 in the future makes it very worthwhile.”
People taking part in the trials should be able to drive – or be driven by a member of their household or support bubble – and should not use public transport. Anyone who feels too poorly to leave their home should not take part.
The main symptoms of coronavirus are:
- A high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
- A new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)
- A loss or change to your sense of smell or taste – this means you’ve noticed you cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal
For more information on the trials and how to sign up, email firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 0191 282 3578.