Banbury grandmother amongst 7,647 thanked for their part in COVID-19 trials


“Thank you to each and every person who has taken part in clinical research this year. You have done something amazing.”

Health service leaders have thanked more than 7,000 participants who took part in nationally-prioritised COVID-19 studies in Oxfordshire.

A total 7,647 people took part in 31 studies supported by the National Institute for Health Research in the county’s hospitals, care homes and community settings, such as GP practices.

Janice Rowan from Banbury was one of them.   The 59-year-old housing manager for Sanctuary Housing took budesonide through an inhaler as part of the PRINCIPLE trial after testing positive for COVID-19 in December.

She was among 162 county people who took part in tests to see whether a short course of existing drugs can reduce the severity of COVID-19 symptoms in vulnerable groups and help avoid hospital admission.

Mrs Rowan said: “A lot of my colleagues were reporting symptoms of COVID-19 so I went for a test just to rule it out and was really surprised that it came back positive because I felt really well.

“About four days after I started feeling really unwell. I don’t think I’ve ever been that poorly before. The headache was the worst problem, it was absolutely dreadful. The thing that caused me the most anxiety was the cough. I thought about the damage to the lungs and I was worried I could be hospitalised.”

The grandmother-of-one, who has high blood pressure, was offered the trial by her GP at Banbury Cross Health Centre. She said: “My doctor asked me if I wanted to take part and I just said ‘yes’ without really thinking about it. Then I got the inhaler through the post a couple of days later. I started to feel much better in myself three or four days later.”

The trial found budesonide shortens recovery time in patients at risk of more severe illness and ruled out two further drugs.

Mrs Rowan said: “I was quite fortunate because I seem to have recovered quite quickly and don’t have any symptoms of long COVID. Although, after the trial ended, it still took me four or five weeks to get over the feelings of tiredness and fatigue.

“I would absolutely recommend taking part in research. I read about the drug being approved and I was really pleased. It was nice to get the outcome.

“There were so many people doing their bit on the frontline, facing horrendous situations in the ward. For me it would have seemed ridiculous to say no to taking part in the trial when it was such an easy thing to do.”

Prof Meghana Pandit, Chief Medical Officer at Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Clinical trials have never been more important as we tackle the unprecedented threat of a novel coronavirus pandemic.

“Oxford has been at the forefront of national and international efforts to tackle COVID-19, whether through the rapid development of a vaccine, the search for effective treatments or the many other trials that have enhanced our understanding of the virus.

“None of the breakthroughs we have achieved over the past year would have been possible without the thousands of patients and members of the public who have agreed to take part in these clinical trials and the dedicated staff who have helped to carry them out. We are exceptionally grateful to all of them.”

Prof Belinda Lennox, Clinical Director for the NIHR Clinical Research Network Thames Valley and South Midlands, said: “This year has demonstrated, more than ever before, the vital importance of clinical research – we have trialled treatments that have saved lives and developed new vaccines that prevent disease. 

“This is only possible because of research and because of the volunteers who have given their time and altruistically taken part, not knowing whether they would benefit or not.

“Thank you to each and every person who has taken part in clinical research this year. You have done something amazing.”

Published: by Banbury FM Newsteam

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