MFT team recruits first UK patient to ‘OSCAR’ COVID-19 research study

The first UK patient has been treated in new COVID-19 research trialling the impact of an experimental arthritis drug, otilimab, on severe lung disease related to COVID-19.

The patient is being cared for at Manchester Royal Infirmary (MRI), part of MFT and was recruited to the ‘OSCAR’ study on 11 September 2020.

OSCAR (Otilimab in Severe COVID-19 Related Disease) is sponsored and funded by UK-based pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline, and is one of a number of COVID-19 studies that have been given urgent public health research status by the Department of Health and Social Care.

The study is planned to take place at hospitals across the UK, and at the MRI is led by Dr Andy Martin, an Intensive Care and Anaesthesia Consultant. 

Dr Martin said: “The patients eligible to take part in this study are those experiencing very severe lung difficulties due to COVID-19 infection and are receiving oxygen or ventilator support.

“We are conducting this study to see whether otilimab – which is under investigation as a potential treatment for rheumatoid arthritis – could also potentially ease the effect of coronavirus on the lungs, dampening the impact of the virus on the immune system. 

Christopher Corsico, Senior Vice President Development, GSK said: “We are continuing to work hard to find solutions to address the pandemic, including exploring potential treatment options for COVID-19 patients.

Dr Andy Martin

Dr Andy Martin

“We know that some COVID-19 patients experience an overreaction of their immune system – sometimes referred to as cytokine storm – which can lead to hospitalisation or death. We believe that otilimab might be able to help counter or calm this process. 

“We are grateful to Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust and the study participants for supporting this important research.”