A new drug first trialled by COVID-19 research staff has been found to reduce deaths from the virus by a fifth in the sickest patients.
The new successful monoclonal antibody combination was first tested on a patient at the Trust last year. It was organised through the research team’s involvement in the national RECOVERY Trial, run by Oxford University.
The new medication developed by Regeneron is given as a single infusion. It works by binding to the virus to inactivate it.
For patients requiring hospital treatment for COVID-19 who do not already have antibodies against the virus, the medication significantly reduces the risk of dying.
Since the University Hospital of North Tees starting using the medication, nearly 5,000 patients were given it through the trial.
“Very exciting news”
Ben Prudon, respiratory consultant and the Trust’s lead investigator, said: “This is very exciting news.
“We were the very first organisation to trial this medication on a patient and now it has been proven to be successful as a treatment.
“This is now the third treatment investigated by the trial found to saves lives for those with severe COVID-19 infection. But it is the first medicine to be created specifically for the virus and is very exciting.
“It’s testament to our staff for their professional and thorough work in speaking to patients, explaining the benefits of the trial and helping recruit so many people to help towards getting this result today.
“I would also like to thank our patients because without them we wouldn’t have these new treatments. Together, we have and will continue to save so many lives.”
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 cut by four days on average. They were also less likely to end up on a ventilator.
Thanks to staff and participants
Sir Martin Landray is Professor of Medicine and Epidemiology at the Nuffield Department of Population Health, University of Oxford, and Joint Chief Investigator. He said: “We now know that this antibody combination is not only bad for the virus. But it is also good for the sickest patients who have failed to mount a natural immune response of their own.
“That is excellent news. It is the first time that any antiviral treatment has been shown to save lives in hospitalised COVID-19 patients. We are incredibly grateful to the many NHS staff and patients who have contributed to today’s discovery.”
The Trust has recruited more than 800 patients to the study. It makes us proportionally the second highest recruiter in the country.
The organisation has also been the first in the country to administer
- The medication Tocilizumab
- The multiple sclerosis medication DMF