Critically ill patients will be asked to take part.

Critically ill patients with Covid-19 in Ireland will be asked to take part in a clinical trial, hoping to find an effective treatment for the virus.

The trial will test the effects of different interventions for patients, who are being treated in intensive care units.

These interventions include antiviral drugs and immunomodulatory drugs.

The trial will start enrolling COVID-19 patients on island of Ireland from now, and will test interventions for coronavirus in critically ill patients.

Other countries involved in the research include the UK, Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, Singapore, New Zealand, Australia and Canada, and they will share their data quickly.

“This means we can rapidly generate evidence to guide doctor’s decisions”.

Professor Alistair Nichol from St Vincent’s University Hospital is the Irish lead on the trial.

He explained how it will work and why it is important:

“In the 2009 H1N1 pandemic, many groups tried to conduct trials in a timely manner, however our groups and others couldn’t establish a clinical trial in time to respond to the pandemic.

“So, we designed a new trial called REMAP CAP to recruit in ‘peacetime’ – but to be able to convert rapidly in the event of a pandemic, such as COVID-19.”

He adds: “This trial will now allow a rapid response which is ready to enrol Irish patients in intensive care units in the first weeks of such a pandemic.

“This means we can rapidly generate evidence to guide doctor’s decisions on the best treatment for critically ill patients with COVID-19.”

The COVID-19 aspect of the trial will begin in ICUs in St Vincent’s University Hospital and University Hospital Galway in the next week.