Specialist pharmacy team integral in the rollout of new Covid-19 medication.
Their efforts have enabled North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust to become the first in the country treaingt patients with new COVID-19 medication.
The aseptic manufacturing team have been a key part of the introduction of REGN-COV2. A new treatment made from a combination of monoclonal antibodies specially targeting coronavirus.
National Recovery trial
As part of the Trust’s involvement in the national Recovery trial, the team have worked with the organisation.
The pharmacy aseptic and clinical trials team are responsible for ensuring regulatory compliance with the use of the unlicensed drug, its receipt, appropriate storage, preparation and documentation.
The team has carried out significant amount of work so that this treatment is delivered to patients. As this is a brand new medication, everything needs to be set up from the beginning. It’s a fantastic effort from the whole team to achieve this in such a short space of time.
There have been a number of challenges to overcome. Although the risks of handling the drug are known, until we have definite safety proof the dose is prepared in safety cabinets in pharmacy clean rooms.Bill Wetherill, associate chief pharmacist in the aseptic service
Bill Wetherill commented: “This means the product is protected from contamination and prepared in an aseptic manner.
“It also ensures protection of the operator in case there are risks we are not yet aware of. It also protects nursing staff and patients on the ward from these risks.”
Working tirelessley on Covid-19 medication
The trust’s study lead for the Recovery trial and respiratory consultant Ben Prudon, said:
“The pharmacy team have worked incredibly hard to ensure all processes and safeguards are in place.
“This allows patients to become the first in the country getting potential access to this medicine.”
The aseptic manufacturing team have been critical in helping the trust become the first in the country to offer this medication. This has demonstrated their flexibility, professionalism, accuracy and great teamwork – all for the benefit of our patients.Mojgan Sani, Director of medicines optimisation and chief pharmacist
Congratulations to everyone in the aseptic team for their involvement:
Bill Wetherill, Margaret Gunn, Shelley Glen and Diane Macaulay, Gaynor Parkinson, Panos Ziogas, Chris Marshall, Sue Wintringham, Evie Di Carlo and Paul Yardley.
How the new Covid-19 medication works
- Many Covid researchers are focusing their attention on a specific protein that allows the virus to infect human cells. Called the angiotensin-converting enzyme 2, or ACE2 receptor
- The new drug works on the principle that a protein antibody believed to be an exact match for ACE2 receptors in the lungs. This is activated by the coronavirus spike protein and can penetrate into respiratory cells and cause inflammatory damage.
- The antibody attaches itself to the spike protein of the virus rather than allowing the protein to attach to the lung ACE2 receptor
- It is thought to reduce illness severity making it unable replicate by attaching and injecting itself into the lung cell
- The antibody is also designed to cause an immune response to help destroy other virus cells
- The second protein antibody is believed to be a very close match if the virus mutates to change the shape of its spike protein and prevent the antibody attaching