Clinical Trials Day gives us an opportunity to reflect on, and appreciate, recent achievements and the people who have made these achievements possible. So, this year we want to say a big thank you to everyone involved, “we couldn’t do it without you”.
The findings from the trials carried out in the Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences make a real difference to people’s lives by influencing clinical practice around the globe. The contribution of the amazing people who voluntarily share their experiences for the studies is helping primary healthcare professionals provide better evidence-based care for people worldwide. We have truly been humbled by the response from people across the UK.
Everyone working on trials in the department has worked above and beyond during the last two years. The evolution in terms of the speed of establishing a trial and the assignment of new and repurposed drugs, improved accessibility to, and recruitment of, people in the community, and the level of innovation in trial design has been unprecedented. The PRINCIPLE and PANORAMIC COVID-19 trials have been centre-stage but studies for other health conditions such as diabetes, obesity, blood pressure monitoring and cancer have also had to adapt and find ways to develop in often challenging circumstances.
The support and dedication of general practitioners and other organisations and community groups across the country has been outstanding. GPs are integral to many of the department’s studies, recruiting trial participants from within their communities and helping to inform the design and conduct of trials.
Emma Ogburn, Operations Director of the Clinical Trials Unit, CTU, said,
“We are pushing the boundaries of trials recruiting from the community and primary care and our work is changing patients’ lives. The CTU stands as a monument to the vision of its leaders, staff, funders, the UK-wide clinical research networks embedded in the NHS, NHS Digital, and Antiviral and Therapeutics Task Force, the regulators — to name but a few —we thank you all.”
In the last year PANORAMIC and PRINCIPLE have continued to lead the way in evaluating treatments for COVID-19 in the community. The PRINCIPLE Trial focusses on testing re-purposed drugs for COVID-19, whereas PANORAMIC is testing novel, specific antiviral agents. In December, PANORAMIC became the largest international study of community-based treatments for acute COVID-19 and has now recruited close to 26,000 people.
PRINCIPLE was the first major trial in the community to show that the commonly used asthma drug, inhaled Budesonide, a steroid, was effective in reducing recovery time by around three days. PRINCIPLE also showed that in the absence of other indications, the antibiotics azithromycin and doxycycline, did not benefit COVID-19 patients and that the anti-inflammatory drug, colchicine, did not help people get better any quicker.
Summing-up the contribution from so many people, Chris Butler, Professor of Primary Care at Oxford University’s Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences, said,
“The superb research scientists in the department and in our wider collaboration are delivering these and other critically important, innovative trials to the highest international standards. We salute our multidisciplinary team that covers all the essential functions for the design and implementation of rigorous randomised trials; each one of our research team is ‘mission critical’ to generating clinical evidence that is guiding care worldwide, not only for COVID, but for trials in all our priority thematic areas.
Maximum respect to you all!”