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Royal Free Hospital: New Covid-19 trial launches as hospital unveils bench honouring pandemic key workers

PUBLISHED: 08:45 17 November 2020

The clinical team leading the new antiviral trial at the Royal Free. Left to right are lead research nurse Rachel Ochiel, clinical trial practitioner Maja Dabagh, Dr David Lowe, and Li-An Brown, infectious diseases registrar. Picture: Royal Free

The clinical team leading the new antiviral trial at the Royal Free. Left to right are lead research nurse Rachel Ochiel, clinical trial practitioner Maja Dabagh, Dr David Lowe, and Li-An Brown, infectious diseases registrar. Picture: Royal Free

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Medics at the Royal Free are recruiting north Londoners to take part in a new trial of drugs which could treat Covid-19, while the hospital trust has also unveiled a new rainbow bench designed to pay tribute to key workers.

The new bench outside the Royal Free Hospital. Picture: Royal FreeThe new bench outside the Royal Free Hospital. Picture: Royal Free

The new trial, being run by Dr David Lowe, is testing whether two antiviral treatments called favipiravir and lopinavir/ritonavir can reduce the amount of virus present in patients with early stage infections.

The trial, being run by staff at UCLH and the Royal Free, is searching for members of the public who have recently tested positive for the coronavirus – or those who are still waiting for a test or result.

Dr Lowe said: “To maximise the potential benefit, we are treating patients with very early onset infection and are looking for the additional or combined effects of adding a second drug. We want to hear from people as soon as they develop the symptoms of COVID-19, even if they haven’t had the test yet, as this is something we can arrange in tandem. The sooner we can enrol someone on the study the better – time is of the essence.

“If we can find antivirals that decrease viral load early on, this might reduce the risk of transmission and later hospitalisation.”

The new bench is a tribute to key workersl. Picture: Royal FreeThe new bench is a tribute to key workersl. Picture: Royal Free

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On November 10, a bench created using orging methods dating back 200 years were unveiled by Royal Free Hospital chief exec Kate Slemeck,

Standing outside of the hospital’s main entrance, the bench is one of three created by Fred Suffield of the Anwick Forge in Lincolnshire. The benches were commissioned and donated by heritage arts organisation Grandey’s Place,

Kate Slemeck said: “We are delighted to receive this wonderful gift of craftsmanship, generously donated to the Royal Free London to thank staff for their care, hard work, bravery and commitment in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.”

Dr David Feinberg is giving the Royal Free Charity's Marsden Lecture in 2020. Picture: Weinberg-Clark photographyDr David Feinberg is giving the Royal Free Charity's Marsden Lecture in 2020. Picture: Weinberg-Clark photography

She said the bench would be “a lasting legacy for our staff and patients”.

Meanwhile the Royal Free Charity – which has helped support medical staff across the NHS trust during the pandemic – is holding its annual Marsden Lecture virtually. The keynote speaker will be Dr David Feinberg, from Google Health.

Dr Feinberg will use the lecture to discuss technological innovation in healthcare on Youtube on November 19 at 5.30. The Marsden Lecture commemorates the Royal Free’s founding in 1828.

If you are interested in taking part in the antiviral study, contact david.lowe7@nhs.net, and to watch the Marsden lecture visit bit.ly/35fBfbQ


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