Clinical trial to treat patients with coronavirus

A new clinical trial led by the University of Warwick and Queen’s University Belfast seeks to find alternatives to ventilators to treat patients who are critically ill with COVID-19. Researchers will deliver a clinical trial that aims to recruit approximately 4,000 patients in order to find effective alternative solutions for patients with COVID-19 to reduce the need for treatment with a ventilator and improve patient outcomes.

The RECOVERY-RS Respiratory Support trial will compare standard care, intubation and invasive ventilation for critically-ill patients, with other non-invasive treatment methods including masks driven by oxygen or high-flow oxygen through the nose. The comparative data produced will provide a better understanding of which methods are most effective in reducing the need for invasive ventilation and for improving patient outcomes. The study is based on the theory that non-invasive interventions at an earlier stage may reduce the need for invasive ventilation with a mechanical ventilator. While these treatments are already available in the NHS and have been used for patients with COVID-19, it is not known which approach is the most effective.

The chance to join the trial will be offered to adults who are inpatients in NHS hospitals with suspected or confirmed COVID-19. The trial will provide patients with an equal chance of receiving standard care or one of the non-invasive treatments. Which treatment the patient will receive will be decided by a computer at random. Patients will receive all other treatments recommended by their clinical team. The trial will enable researchers to see whether any of the possible new treatments are more or less effective than those currently used for patients with COVID-19. 

A recent report estimated that 30% of COVID-19 hospitalised patients are likely to require mechanical ventilation. Mechanical ventilation is termed “invasive” if it involves any instrument inside the trachea through the mouth, such as an endotracheal tube or the neck, such as a tracheostomy tube. The UK is facing a shortage of both equipment and trained staff to operate the ventilators and therefore it is crucial to find effective, alternative ways to treat patients.