A new drug trialled by research staff at South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has been found to reduce deaths from COVID-19 by a fifth in the sickest patients.
The research team at South Tees worked as part of the Durham Tees Valley Research Alliance (DTVRA) on the national RECOVERY trial, run by Oxford University, which is looking at the impact of different treatments on mortality and on the need for hospitalisation or ventilation. It trials different treatments versus standard care.
The trial has found that the use of an antibody combination reduced deaths by one fifth among patients hospitalised with severe COVID-19 who were not able to mount a natural antibody response of their own.
The drug, developed by Regeneron, uses a combination of two monoclonal antibodies that bind specifically to two different sites on the coronavirus spike protein, neutralising the ability of the virus to infect cells.
In the trial, deaths of those who had no antibodies of their own were reduced from 30% to 24% – saving six lives in every 100 patients. Their stay in hospital was four days shorter on average and they were less likely to end up on a ventilator.
Dr David Chadwick, principal investigator for the RECOVERY trial at South Tees and consultant in infectious diseases at the trust said: “Once again I’m delighted that the Durham Tees Valley Research Alliance teams were able to contribute to this part of the RECOVERY trial, which has now shown the first antibody therapy to reduce deaths from COVID-19. Not all hospitals running this clinical trial were able to offer this treatment to their patients but I’m really pleased South Tees was one of the trusts that could. This is the third treatment which has been shown to be effective in the trial and we look forward to using it again once approved.”
DTVRA brings together County Durham and Darlington, North Tees and Hartlepool and South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trusts, to provide more opportunities for patients to participate in research and clinical trials.
Professor Nick Lemoine, Medical Director at the NIHR Clinical Research Network said: “It is fantastic news that the RECOVERY trial has provided evidence to establish another lifesaving treatment against COVID-19 through this monoclonal antiviral antibody combination. The incredible impact the trial continues to have is testament to the scientists and healthcare professionals – but equally the tens of thousands of patients who have taken part. We sincerely want to thank every single one of them for their contribution.”
For more information about the results visit the RECOVERY trial website.