COVID-19 has affected us all. We spoke to Professor Nick Hart, about COVID-19 treatment trials and why he is taking part in the PANORAMIC trial, having recently tested positive for COVID-19.

Nick is the Clinical Director of Respiratory, Sleep and Critical Care Medicine at Guy’s and St Thomas’, and its Director of Research Delivery.

Why do we need COVID-19 treatment trials?

As a consultant in respiratory and critical care medicine, throughout the pandemic I have witnessed first-hand the devastation that COVID-19 infection can cause to both patients and their families. Global research efforts have driven the development of vaccines that are now helping to prevent severe illness from COVID-19 in the majority of cases.

Despite the high vaccination take-up in the UK and globally, COVID-19 remains with us with many infections and many patients that we see in hospital continuing to experience severe illness. Therefore, we have also been working on developing new and improved treatments for COVID-19 that can be used by patients at home early on in the illness to prevent the progression of the disease to a stage where hospital admission is needed. The PANORAMIC trial is one of these trials where we are testing different treatments to assess how well they work to prevent severe COVID-19.

What motivated you to take part in the PANORAMIC trial?

When I tested positive for COVID-19, I did not hesitate for a second to volunteer to take part in the PANORAMIC trial as a research participant. I hope that by taking part I can help to develop effective treatments that promote quick recovery and stop COVID-19 infection from progressing to the severe disease that I have sadly seen in too many of my patients. I cannot stress enough the crucial role that patients and the public play in clinical research. Without research participants, we simply wouldn’t be able to develop new and improved ways to prevent, diagnose and treat diseases.

The pandemic so far has shown us the enormous power of patients, the public, doctors, nurses, researchers and scientists and many others working together to develop effective vaccines against COVID-19, with unprecedented speed. As a clinician involved in delivering care to our sickest patients and now as a research participant, I sincerely hope that together we can have the same impact on the development of COVID-19 treatments that arrest its progression to severe disease. It is something that will benefit us all – individually and also collectively – as families, friends, colleagues and communities.

Has it been easy to take part in the trial alongside work and other commitments?

I’ve found taking part so far very simple. You can participate in your own home from anywhere in the UK for the first treatment being tested in PANORAMIC, and no face-to-face visits are required.

If you have tested positive for COVID-19 within the last five days (either via a PCR or Lateral Flow test) and are over 50 or between 18-49 with a listed underlying health condition, regardless of vaccination status, you may be eligible to take part in the PANORAMIC trial. You can find out more and register your interest at www.panoramictrial.org

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