The Perfect Enemy | Covid: drug trial for immuno-compromised patients starts in Northampton
December 1, 2022
Read Time:2 Minute
Northampton General Hospital

A man with blood cancer has received his first treatment in trial of a new Covid-19 drug that aims to protect immuno-compromised patients.

John, 57, from Northampton, said he hoped it would provide “protection”.

University Hospitals of Northamptonshire NHS Group has become the first UK trust to set up the trial.

It is looking at the use of Covid vaccines alongside Evusheld – a new antibody treatment that aims to prevent Covid infection.

The Rapid-Protection study, to run across the UK, aims to recruit 350 patients in total.

It is for people with weakened immune systems – caused by cancer, inflammatory conditions, as a result of organ transplants or other serious health conditions – who remain at high risk of catching Covid-19, said the NHS trust, which runs Northampton General Hospital and Kettering General Hospital.

‘Get their lives back’

John was eligible due to having myeloma and has had to shield during the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Covid remains a real worry for immuno-supressed people and I hope that by taking part in the trial it will help to support future treatments for people with these conditions,” he said.

“Of course it also gives me additional protection and enables me to feel a bit more relaxed about Covid.”

Dr Jane Parker, consultant haematologist leading the study, said: “The opportunity to get Evusheld to better protect against Covid-19 is monumental for our immuno-compromised patients, especially as many have continued to shield or significantly restrict their lifestyle since the beginning of the pandemic.

“Hopefully, our patients can now start to get their lives more back to normal and enjoy some of the freedoms the rest of us have experienced since the Covid rules were relaxed.”

Evusheld is a combination of two long-acting antibodies that bind to the spike protein on the outside of the SARS-CoV2 virus and prevent the virus from entering human cells, the trust said.

It has been shown in clinical trials to prevent Covid-19 infection for up to a year after a single dose of two injections, giving protection within a few hours.

The study, sponsored by the Centre for Trials Research at Cardiff University, was being led by Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

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