Clinical Research Office. A partnership between Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and the University of Sheffield

Researchers from Sheffield Teaching Hospitals help to save up to 1 million lives worldwide by pioneering highly effective COVID-19 therapy

Researchers from Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust 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.

The number of people who have successfully been treated as part of the RECOVERY trial, which found that Dexamethasone, an inexpensive and widely available steroid, cut the risk of death by a third for COVID-19 patients on ventilators and for those on oxygen it cut deaths by almost a fifth, have been published today (Tuesday 23 March).

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

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.

The latest figures are revealed in a paper for the NHS England board looking at how the health service has responded to the coronavirus pandemic, the greatest health emergency since it was founded.

Professor Simon Heller, Director of Research and Development at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We are delighted to have played a leading role in this groundbreaking trial. 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.”

The Sheffield RECOVERY trial was run with the support of the NIHR Sheffield Clinical Research Facility the NIHR Sheffield Biomedical Research Centre and NIHR Clinical Research Network.