Cookies on this website
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Continue' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Duncan Richards, Climax Professor of Clinical Therapeutics and Director of the Oxford Clinical Trials Research Unit (OCTRU) is interviewed about clinical trials and the challenges of running them in a pandemic.

The COVID Clinical Trial Planning Group has been really focused on a strategy for our clinical studies, says Duncan

What has been your role in the Oxford response to the COVID-19 pandemic?

This pandemic is characterised for me by two groups. There are those who are on the front line, treating patients, often rushed off their feet dealing with immediate needs of patients and logistic matters.

In a place like Oxford you also have a huge number of 'armchair generals' who are isolated at home and really want to make a contribution. They have the opportunity to devour the emerging literature and to formulate great ideas. We need both these groups to work together to deliver for patients.

I am leading the COVID Clinical Trial Planning Group, which works at this interface. We have a real multidisciplinary group encompassing immunologists, respiratory, infectious disease, intensive care, emergency medicine and gerontology. The national framework sets the overall agenda but it is vital to have a local plan to be able to deliver.

A great strength of our group is that over 50% are also working on the front line. Not necessarily all day every day, but they are seeing patients on a regular basis. For me, it has been a critical insight into how you conduct research in a pandemic environment.

What has been the focus for the group since it formed to conduct clinical trials?

What our planning group has been really focused on is a strategy for our clinical studies. We must have reviewed 30 plus proposals for clinical trials, but all too often they're all looking to recruit the same patients, and that's not possible. So, we've been doing two things. One is we've been working with senior leadership in the Medical Sciences Division to identify and prioritise those interventions that we think are most promising.

Read the full interview on the Nuffield Department of Orthopaedics, Rheumatology & Musculoskeletal Sciences website

Similar stories

Prestigious award for Oxford professor's diabetes work

A University of Oxford professor has been awarded the 2021 EASD-Novo Nordisk Foundation Prize for Excellence for his decades of effort to understand, prevent and combat type 1 diabetes.

Wellcome accolades for Dr Douglas

Dr Alexander (Sandy) Douglas, an investigator at the Jenner Institute, Nuffield Department of Medicine, has recently received two prestigious Wellcome accolades.

FOCUS4: a flagship trial in colorectal cancer

Professor Tim Maughan (Department of Oncology) outlines the flagship work of the FOCUS4 trials, whose results were presented last weekend at the European Society of Medical Oncology (ESMO) annual meeting

Oxford and Oracle partner to speed identification of COVID-19 variants

The fast spread of the highly infectious Delta variant underscores the need for faster identification of COVID-19 mutations. Uniting governments and medical communities in this challenge, the University of Oxford and Oracle’s Global Pathogen Analysis System (GPAS) is now being used by organizations on nearly every continent. Institutions using the platform include: the University of Montreal Hospital Centre Research Centre, the Institute of Public Health Research of Chile, the Oxford University Clinical Research Unit in Vietnam, the Institute of Clinical Pathology and Medical Research – New South Wales Pathology, and Oxford Nanopore Technologies. GPAS is also now part of the Public Health England New Variant Assessment Platform.

Vaccinated groups at highest risk of Covid-19 hospitalisation and death identified using new QCovid tool

Researchers from the University of Oxford have today reported on findings on the vaccinated people who are at greatest risk from severe Covid-19 leading to hospitalisation or death from 14 days post the second dose vaccination, when substantial immunity should be expected.