King’s Health Partners supporting national COVID-19 research

Learn about our research community who are galvanising to help combat COVID-19.

research covid-19With research one of the four pillars underpinning the UK Government’s response strategy to COVID-19, across King’s Health Partners our highly experienced research teams are concentrating all their efforts on COVID-19. All other research has been paused to support the delivery of COVID-19 studies and redeploy staff and resources to our clinical frontlines within our organisations.

A new national process is in place that allows the Chief Medical Officer (CMO) to prioritise COVID-19 studies that hold the most potential to tackle this pandemic. Across our partnership, trusts have created their own processes to help prioritise the delivery of COVID-19 studies, with around 30 COVID-19 research studies currently approved by the CMO. Here are some examples:

King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust was the first site in the UK to open and recruit a patient into a commercial study called Gilead Remdesivir. The team has recruited 60 patients to date across both arms of the study. This represents 50% of the total number of patients involved in the study, with the remaining participants being drawn from 13 other UK trusts. Remdesivir has had some success in treating human Ebola infections and has shown antiviral qualities in models of infection with other coronaviruses. 

King’s College Hospital are also actively recruiting to nine other COVID-19 studies, including the Pandemic Respiratory Infection Emergency System Triage (PRIEST) Study with 196 patients recruited at Denmark Hill. A further 35 COVID-19 priority studies are in the process of being set up across King’s College Hospital. 

Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust started the first national cell therapy investigational medicinal product trial to be tested in COVID-19 patients called Repair of Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS) by Stromal Cell Administration (REALIST).

The advanced therapy medicinal product used in the trial has been reconstituted and prepared by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust Biomedical Research Centre’s (BRC) Advanced Therapies Manufacturing Platform. Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust have recruited their first patient for this nationwide trial, with the patient having now received treatment. The trial is also due to open to recruitment at King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust in due course.

Our King’s Health Partners trusts continue to support a number of CMO priority studies, including the Randomised Evaluation of COVID-19 Therapy (RECOVERY) trial, which is actively recruiting patients from Guy’s and St Thomas’ and at King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust including the Princess Royal University Hospital (PRUH) and Denmark Hill campuses.

As a multi-centre platform trial, RECOVERY aims to test the effectiveness of five different drugs which are currently used to treat conditions ranging from HIV to malaria in the treatment of COVID-19 infection in adults. To date, the trial has recruited 68 patient participants across the partnership.

Another study which both Guy’s and St Thomas’ and King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trusts are also recruiting to is the nationwide Clinical Characterisation Protocol for Severe Emerging Infection (ISIRIC) study with 1,006 data samples collected to date across the partnership.

Key studies at South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust include a call for action for mental health science, highlighting the urgent need to tackle the potentially harmful impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on mental health.

By partnering with the Clinical Practice Research Datalink (CPRD), researchers from South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust and the NIHR Maudsley Biomedical Research Centre are using patient medical records data to further understand mental distress symptoms related to COVID-19 among patients, as well as health professionals, including impact on quality of life, healthcare access and potential risk factors within specific populations. These include ethnic minority, multimorbidity and those from a low-income socioeconomic background.

The South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust teams are working in partnership with the NHS Nightingale Hospital, Guy’s and St Thomas’ and King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trusts on NHS CHECK – to look at the health and experiences of staff working on the frontline. With more than 40,000 staff across King’s Health Partners, and potentially more than 20,000 staff at the Nightingale Hospital, the aim is to explore the psychosocial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on staff and evaluate staff support programmes across the sites.