Parents urged to support new research study at Medway NHS Foundation Trust

Date: 16 November 2022

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Parents in Medway and Swale are being encouraged to support a ground-breaking research programme which is looking into the UK’s leading cause of infant hospitalisation.

Medway NHS Foundation Trust is one of five trusts across Kent, Surrey and Sussex taking part in the HARMONIE study. Open to newborns, and babies up to 12 months old, it looks at how strongly babies can be protected from respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), by giving them a single dose of nirsevimab - a monoclonal antibody immunisation.

RSV is one of the leading causes of hospitalisation in all infants worldwide and affects 90 per cent of children before the age of two. It often causes only mild illnesses, like a cold. However, for some babies, it leads to more severe lung problems such as bronchiolitis and pneumonia. In recent months, there has been a resurgence of RSV following the easing of COVID-19 public health measures.

Nine-month-old Jack, from Sittingbourne, is one of the infants taking part in the study run by the Research Team at Medway NHS Foundation Trust.

His mum, Samantha Short, said: “It's great to be involved in research that might help more babies in the future, because being a Sister on a neonatal unit I know how ill some babies can get with RSV. 

“Being on the HARMONIE study has reassured me that Jack will be protected from RSV this winter as he received the injection and I did not hesitate in enrolling in this study."

The study includes a single in person visit, with entirely virtual follow up visits over a 12-month period.

Dr Aung Soe, Medway NHS Foundation Trust’s Consultant Neonatologist and Neonatal Speciality Lead for National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) Clinical Research Network, Kent, Surrey and Sussex, said: “The HARMONIE study is a vital study looking into whether a new drug, nirsevimab, will significantly reduce the number of babies with RSV Bronchiolitis needing to be admitted to hospital.

“We hope that parents will engage with this trial as RSV is a common seasonal virus that infects nearly all babies by their second birthday.

“The study is critical to helping the NHS, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) and the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) find out whether it is feasible and beneficial, to patients and the NHS, to routinely implement nirsevimab in healthy babies.”

To find out more, or to get involved with the study at Medway NHS Foundation Trust, please contact the Trust’s Research Team at medwayft.researchenquiries@nhs.net 

More information can also be found on the website https://rsvharmoniestudy.com/en-gb

  • Summary:

    Parents in Medway and Swale are being encouraged to support a ground-breaking research programme which is looking into the UK’s leading cause of infant hospitalisation.