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Ireland to participate in global clinical trial for Covid-19

By Dermot - 01st Apr 2020

Abstract coronavirus strain model from Wuhan, China. Outbreak Respiratory syndrome and Novel coronavirus 2019-nCoV with text on blue background. Virus Pandemic banner concept

The Health Research Board has said it has mobilised “rapid support” for a Covid-19 clinical trial among Irish patients in intensive care units (ICU) as part of global research efforts to tackle the pandemic.

The trial will start enrolling Covid-19 patients on the island of Ireland at the start of April and will test interventions for Covid-19 in critically ill patients, capture the outcomes and analyse data across an international network

“In the 2009, H1N1 pandemic many groups tried to conduct trials in a timely manner, however, our groups and others couldn’t establish a clinical trial in time to respond to the pandemic,” said Professor Alistair Nichol, St Vincent’s University Hospital and University College Dublin, who is the Irish lead on the trial.

“So, we designed a new trial called REMAP CAP to recruit in ‘peacetime’ but to be able to convert rapidly in the event of a pandemic, such as Covid-19. This trial will now allow a rapid response which is ready to enrol Irish patients in intensive care units in the first weeks of such a pandemic. This means we can rapidly generate evidence to guide doctor’s decisions on the best treatment for critically ill patients with Covid-19.”

Researchers in Ireland led by Prof Nichol will work with the local network of clinical research facilities and other partners across academia and hospitals to start assessing these potential interventions as quickly as possible.

The Covid-19 aspect of the trial will commence in ICUs in St Vincent’s University Hospital and University Hospital Galway in the next week. Beaumont Hospital have signed contracts and the following hospitals are preparing to be involved soon: Cork University Hospital and University Hospital Limerick as well as the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast, with others to follow.

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