Doctors working on the frontline in Dundee have been working around the clock to find a way to treat coronavirus.
It was revealed last week that researchers from Dundee University were working on the first Scottish trial for a drug to combat Covid-19.
Medical staff across the city are working flat out in hospital wards treating patients battling with the Covid-19 – but instead of going home after their shifts, many are heading straight into the lab to work on developing a new drug to treat the worst side effects of the virus.
Researchers from the university’s school of medicine have been enlisted to help in a trial of a drug being developed to treat lung inflammation, in coronavirus patients.
While the virus results in a mild infection in most people, up to 20% of patients develop inflammation of the lungs which can require them to be ventilated.
Professor James Chalmers, British Lung Foundation professor of respiratory research at the university and consultant respiratory physician at Ninewells Hospital, is leading this trial.
He said: “Since the beginning of February I have been working on the frontline with patients on the clinical rota, so I am having to work on these trials at two in the morning.
“Alongside really good clinical service, we are finishing our shifts and going to work on these trials to find a cure.
“It is so important, the only exit strategy is to do research and find a treatment.
“This trial is trying to intervene early on before the inflammation develops to stop so many Covid-19 patients going into ICU.
“The biggest problem with the virus is the number of patients who develop these complications and require ventilation.
“We need to stop this process so ICUs are not overwhelmed and the lockdown can be lifted.
“We are on the frontline dealing with it and we can see this inflammation happening in front of us, so we are in the perfect position to know what we need to tackle in this drug trial.”
Drug trials normally take years, however this one has been marked as an urgent public health study by the National Institute for Healthcare Research and has been sped up.
Professor Chalmers continued: “Usually setting up a trial takes about a year, and then development takes three to five years, but we don’t have that kind of time.
“What would normally be done in a year, we have done in three weeks.
“We will trial patients over the next three months and hope to get our first results in six months.
“Trials of this speed are unheard of, but we are in unprecedented times.”
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