First MFT patient receives drug ‘Anakinra’ under COVID-19 trial SCIL-1Ra

A Wythenshawe Hospital patient with COVID-19 is the first Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust recruit to a clinical trial investigating the drug Anakinra to treat COVID-19.

The Greater Manchester trial, SCIL-1Ra, is comparing the drug’s effectiveness in treating critically ill patients, when administered either by injection under the skin (subcutaneous) or into the vein (intravenous).

Anakinra is an immunosuppressive drug mainly used to treat rheumatoid arthritis but also certain types of brain haemorrhage. It has been shown to combat severe infections and multiple organ failure – which in some cases can cause death – triggered by an overreactive response by the body’s immune system. This immune response can also occur in critically-ill COVID-19 patients.

The trial is an interventional feasibility study led by Dr Tim Felton, Honorary Consultant in Intensive Care and Respiratory Medicine at Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust (MFT).

Dr Felton leads MFT’s COVID-19 research, and is the lead researcher for the study, covering Wythenshawe Hospital, while Dr Jonathan Bannard-Smith, Consultant in Intensive Care Medicine and Anaesthesia, is site lead for the Manchester Royal Infirmary (MRI).

SCIL-1Ra study team. L-R - Sarah Thorpe (Research Nurse), Ru Tousis (Research Nurse), Tim Felton (SCIL Chief Investigator), Bindhu Xavier (Research Nurse)

SCIL-1Ra study team. L-R – Sarah Thorpe (Research Nurse), Ru Tousis (Research Nurse), Tim Felton (SCIL Chief Investigator), Bindhu Xavier (Research Nurse)

Dr Felton, who is also Senior Clinical Lecturer at The University of Manchester, said:

Anakinra is highly effective in treating overreactive immune response and severe infections. Because of this it could prove effective in treating COVID-19 patients, and several global trials are now underway to investigate this.

“The drug is typically administered as an injection either into the vein or under the skin. We think injection under the skin is a more efficient way of delivering the drug and that’s why with SCIL-1Ra we want to compare the two methods. We hope to show one method is more effective than the other and deliver better outcomes for patients.”

Dr Bannard-Smith added: “We’re incredibly grateful to our patient and their family for participating in the trial, and our fantastic team at Wythenshawe Hospital for their excellent patient care and hard work in coordinating this study.

MFT is at the forefront in delivering cutting-edge research to fight COVID-19. Anakinra is currently being trialled as a potential COVID-19 treatment by several major UK and international studies, and we hope this one will make a vital contribution to wider efforts to understand the drug’s effectiveness.

SCIL-1Ra aims to recruit 40 adult patients in intensive care with confirmed or clinically suspected COVID-19.

The study is sponsored by The University of Manchester. It is also supported by the NIHR Manchester Biomedical Research Centre (BRC), in collaboration with colleagues at Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust, part of the Northern Care Alliance NHS Group.