Acute Care Edinburgh

RECOVERY Trial Paper Wins BMJ's 2021 UK Research Paper of the Year Award

A RECOVERY (Randomised Evaluation of COVid-19 thERapY) Collaborative Group paper has been announced as the 2021 winner of The British Medical Journal's prestigious UK Research Paper of the Year Award. This award recognises original UK research that has the potential to contribute significantly to improving health and healthcare.

The paper, Dexamethasone in Hospitalised Patients with Covid-19, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, described the discovery in June 2020 of the world’s first effective, readily available treatment for COVID-19 – the inexpensive steroid, dexamethasone.

The winner was announced this evening at a virtual awards ceremony hosted by Dr Fiona Godlee, Editor in Chief at The BMJ and Dr Phil Hammond, and attended by RECOVERY Co-Chief Investigators Professor Sir Peter Horby and Professor Sir Martin Landray

The dexamethasone study involved 6425 patients with severe COVID-19, who were recruited from 175 NHS hospitals across the UK. These were randomly allocated to receive either usual standard care, or 6mg dexamethasone daily.

The results showed unambiguously that dexamethasone reduced deaths by one-third for patients on ventilators and by one-fifth for patients receiving oxygen only. Based on these results, one death would be prevented by treatment of around eight ventilated patients or around 25 patients requiring oxygen alone.

Launched in just nine days as an emergency response, the RECOVERY Trial has received widespread praise for its efficient, streamlined design and clear results based on reliable, large-scale data. Consequently, the findings have been accepted and adopted by healthcare services around the world. This treatment may have saved an estimated one million lives globally, including 22,000 in the UK, between July 2020 and March 2021.

This award is not only a testament to RECOVERY's research team but the dedication of the countless doctors, nurses and hospital staff involved with the study and of course the patients and their families who took part. All of these have played and essential role in delivering this incredible result.

Sir Martin LandrayProfessor of Medicine and Epidemiology

Read the award winning paper