Professor Alistair Nichol, Chair of Critical Care Medicine at UCD and intensive care consultant at St Vincent’s University Hospital, is leading the Irish contribution to a clinical trial on COVID-19.
In partnership with an international network of researchers, Prof. Nichol and intensive care teams at University Hospital Galway and St Vincent’s University Hospital are working with a local network of clinical research facilities and other partners across academia to identify drugs that can protect against or treat the worst symptoms of the virus. Likewise, treatments that are ineffective will also be quickly identified. Other hospitals around the country are also expected to join the trial.
COVID-19 patients requiring critical care in intensive care units will be asked to take part in the trial. In cases where patients are too ill to provide consent, their families will be asked to provide consent on their behalf.
Speaking on RTE Radio 1’s Morning Ireland programme, Prof. Nichol acknowledged the additional stress of being unable to have these difficult conversations face to face.
“Normally we have this conversation at the bedside or in the hospital, but these conversations will have to happen over the phone during this particular crisis.”
The clinical trial will allow doctors to respond rapidly to the findings, to improve outcomes for critically ill patients. If one treatment is found to be working more effectively than another, doctors can actively direct patients towards it straight away.