Clinical Trials Day is celebrated around the world today to recognise the day that James Lind started what is often considered the first randomised clinical trial aboard a ship on May 20, 1747.

Lind’s trial looking into the causes of scurvy on board HMS Salisbury consisted of just 12 men, grouped into pairs and given a variety of dietary supplements from cider to oranges and lemons. The trial only lasted six days but, within that time, there was a noticeable improvement in the group eating the fruit, providing Lind with the evidence required of the link between citrus fruits and scurvy.

The research and development team at TSDFT led by Chris Dixon run studies in areas such as haematology, oncology, diabetes, stroke, dementia, ophthalmology, trauma and orthopaedics and many more.

They recruited 1,408 patients into clinical trials in the past year alone.

Chris said: “We are now prioritising Covid-19 trials because, to date, there are no proven treatments for Covid-19 and it is important to gather reliable evidence through clinical trials.”

The team are responding to the Covid-19 pandemic by prioritising clinical trials to:

• inform on Covid-19 to drive the Government’s response strategy to the pandemic

• evaluate treatment options to optimise care provision and shorten recovery times

• evaluate treatment options to reduce morbidity/mortality and improve long term outcomes

• provide data and samples that can help to identify those patients more susceptible to new emerging infections, sepsis and other forms of critical illness.

All the clinical trials have been assessed by the Chief Medical Officer as priority studies for the UK.

There are currently eight Covid-19 trials that TSDFT research and development team are working on and they have already enrolled 121 participants. These studies include pregnancy and neonatal outcomes in Covid-19; respiratory support and possible treatment options.

Chris said “I’d like to take the opportunity to thank all of our research staff, volunteers and support services who have responded so admirably to the Covid pandemic.

“Being able to open these studies so quickly has meant that we have been able to provide an urgent public health response as requested by the Chief Medical Officer.”