Researchers from Sheffield Teaching Hospitals help save 22,000 lives in the UK and up to one million worldwide with pioneering COVID-19 therapy

Researchers based at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals have played a leading role in helping to pioneer a highly effective COVID-19 therapy that has saved 22,000 lives in the UK and an estimated one million worldwide.

Tuesday, 23rd March 2021, 5:38 pm
Updated Tuesday, 23rd March 2021, 5:38 pm

The patients were treated as part of a trial which found that the drug dexamethasone, an inexpensive and widely available steroid, cut the risk of death by a third for patients on ventilators and almost a fifth for those on oxygen.

Dexamethasone was the first medicine to be shown to improve COVID-19 survival chances in patients who were hospitalised as a result of the infection. Tens of thousands of patients, including over 300 recruited at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals took part in the trial.

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Professor Simon Heller, director of research and development at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals.

Sheffield Teaching Hospitals recruited its first patient in March 2020 and was one of 175 NHS hospital sites across the UK involved in the trial, which was led by University of Oxford scientists.

And now, a paper looking at how the health service has responded to the coronavirus pandemic has revealed that 22,000 Covid-19 patients recovered in the UK alone as a result of the treatment as well as an estimated one million people worldwide.

Professor Simon Heller, director of research and development at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals, said they were ‘delighted’ to have played a leading role in the ‘groundbreaking trial’.

He said: “It is incredible to think that a year ago there were no treatments or vaccines for Covid-19, but now we have hope when previously there was none.

“No research would be possible without patients, and on this day of national reflection I would like to thank NHS staff and research colleagues across the trust and our academic partners for their tremendous hard work in helping to bring new treatments to the NHS.

“The fantastic collaboration between our Trust and the University of Sheffield was also instrumental in making the trial a success, and my thanks in particular goes to principal investigator Dr Paul Collini and his colleagues from the University of Sheffield’s department of immunity, infection and cardiovascular disease whose support and expertise has been invaluable.

“Together with the NHS vaccination programme, research is vital in helping to protect more people from Covid-19, and we are proud to have been at the forefront of key research developments in this exceptional year.”

In these confusing and worrying times, local journalism is more vital than ever. Thanks to everyone who helps us ask the questions that matter by taking out a digital subscription or buying a paper. We stand together. Nancy Fielder, editor.