World-class research gives hope in global fight against Covid-19

Research by Royal Papworth Hospital NHS Foundation Trust are helping ‘turn the tide’ of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Research by Royal Papworth Hospital NHS Foundation Trust are helping ‘turn the tide’ of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. - Credit: Royal Papworth Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

World-class coronavirus research taking place inside a Cambridgeshire hospital is contributing to the global fight against Covid-19.  

In less than a year, the Royal Papworth Hospital NHS Foundation Trust findings are helping to ‘turn the tide of the pandemic’. 

Since spring 2020, the trust, which is based on the Cambridge Biomedical Campus, has been participating in leading national studies and trials. 

Royal Papworth Hospital is also, alongside the University of Cambridge, leading on a national project which is investigating the antibody response in two groups of people – NHS workers and hospitalised patients - who have contracted coronavirus. 

Royal Papworth Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

Jessica and Ronald. - Credit: Royal Papworth Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

Called Humoral Immune Correlates of COVID-19 (HICC), it is exploring how the body’s response differs between people with no symptoms as well as those with mild, moderate and severe disease. 


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Nearly 550 NHS staff and 200 patients from Royal Papworth Hospital are currently participating in the study which is being run by a consortium of clinicians and scientists in Cambridge and wider afield. 

A spokesperson said: “In a further development, the HICC team is also now comparing the immune response in people who have been vaccinated versus those who have been infected. 

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“Royal Papworth has also signed-up to a number of national and international projects, such as the RECOVERY Trial which is the world’s largest clinical trial for COVID-19 treatments.  

“More than 110 patients at Royal Papworth Hospital have been recruited to the study out of a UK-wide total of 39,000. 

“The trial has saved 22,000 lives in the UK and one million worldwide by using an inexpensive and widely available steroid, dexamethasone, as an effective treatment for COVID-19. 

“It has also found that the anti-inflammatory drug, tocilizumab, reduces the risk of death when given to hospitalised patients with severe COVID-19.  

Royal Papworth Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

Alice and Graham. - Credit: Royal Papworth Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

“However, hydroxychloroquine and donated blood from patients who have recovered from coronavirus are not beneficial.” 

Another study to which Royal Papworth is contributing is examining patients who have been discharged from hospital after COVID-19 treatment, some of whom may have long COVID. 

Called PHOSP-COVID, it is being run out of Leicester with hospitals across the UK working together to understand and improve long-term health outcomes for patients and tracking their recoveries. 

Staff at the hospital have so far authored or contributed to more than 50 research papers – about one a week for the past year. 

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