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First patients enrolled in new clinical trial for COVID-19

Clinicians and researchers across Betsi Cadwaladr Health Board are taking part in a national clinical trial to test the effects of potential drug treatments for COVID-19 patients.

There are currently no specific treatments for COVID-19 and The Randomised Evaluation of COVID-19 Therapy (RECOVERY) trial will provide doctors and the health service with information they need to determine which treatments should be used.

Ysbyty Gwynedd, Glan Clwyd Hospital and Wrexham Maelor Hospital are amongst 165 hospitals in the UK taking part in the trial, which is sponsored by Oxford University, and have so far recruited 26 patients.

The treatments initially included in the study have been recommended by an expert panel that advises the Chief Medical Officer in England. These are Lopinavir-Ritonavir, normally used to treat HIV, and the steroid dexamethasone, which is used in a wide range of conditions to reduce inflammation.

The study, which is offered to adult inpatients who have tested positive for COVID-19, aims to find out whether any of these additional treatments would benefit patients who are admitted to hospital with the virus.

A number of clinicians across the Health Board are working with their Research Teams to recruit patients, including patients on Intensive Care Units, Acute Medicine wards and Maternity wards on all three hospital sites. Patients who agree to take part are allocated randomly to one of the possible treatment options. In all cases this will include the usual standard of care.

Hannah Williams, Research Nurse at Glan Clwyd Hospital, said: “We are all working together to ensure that our patients with COVID-19 have access to treatments that will hopefully aid their recovery. We are fortunate to have very dedicated Respiratory, Intensive Care and Research teams, led by Dr Daniel Menzies and Dr Richard Pugh who are working alongside Oxford University on this trial. 

“Unfortunately, anyone can get coronavirus. I would encourage everyone to discuss with their family and friends, if they would or would not want to participate in the RECOVERY trial.”

Consultant Physician, Dr Chris Subbe is leading the team in Ysbyty Gwynedd.

He said: “At the moment prevention through self-isolation remains the most effective intervention against COVID19 but we can't afford to leave any stone unturned.

“There is a real need for reliable evidence on the best care for patients diagnosed with COVID-19.

“Providing new treatments through a trial such as this is the best way to get evidence.”

The first patient recruited to the RECOVERY trial in the Health Board was recruited in Wrexham Maelor Hospital by the team led by Dr David Southern.

Sarah Davies, Research Midwife at Wrexham Maelor Hospital, said: “We’re working really hard in Wrexham’s Research Department to support our dedicated clinical teams in providing patients with the opportunity to take part in this trial.

“Everything is moving at a fast pace and we are facing the challenges we are seeing head-on, and we were so pleased to hear we had our first patient recruited to the RECOVERY trial within five hours of the study opening in the Health Board.

“We work within a really close-knit, supportive team, which enables us to continue to achieve our main aim of ensuring the population of North Wales have access to the latest cutting-edge research and ultimately, the best possible, evidence based care.”

For further information about this study, please visit