Kidney transplant patient joins Clatterbridge research into COVID-19 treatment

Posted 6th February 2023

Tony Brown

A kidney transplant patient from Liverpool is helping researchers investigate a new therapy designed to protect people with poorly-performing immune systems from the worst effects of COVID-19.

Tony Brown is taking part in the clinical research trial at The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre investigating Evusheld – an antibody treatment used for the prevention of COVID-19 infection.

Despite repeated vaccinations against COVID-19, some people with weakened immune systems – caused by cancer, kidney transplants or other serious health conditions – remain at high risk of catching COVID-19 and becoming unwell.

Tony volunteered to take part in the RAPID-PROTECTION study at Clatterbridge to see if Evusheld, combined with a COVID-19 vaccination, can better protect immunosuppressed people from the virus.

Tony, aged 60, who lives with his wife in Aigburth, has had two kidney transplants due to an inherited condition and is at high risk of severe illness if he catches COVID-19.

Despite not being a patient at Clatterbridge, Tony wanted to join the research to “give something back to the NHS”.

Since his 30s, Tony’s condition has led to two heart attacks and two hip replacements, as well as the two kidney transplants.

Tony said: “If I get COVID, it won’t be very good for me and I saw this clinical trial online and decided I wanted to take part.

“Hopefully, it will do some good, for me but also other people who don’t have a good immune system.”

He added: “The NHS has done so much for me over the years, with all the treatment I have had, so I also wanted to do something for them. To help out in some way. Being on this trial is me giving something back.”

Tony will be monitored for up to a year on the clinical trial with his antibody levels tested regularly. “I’ll be checked and well looked after by the team at Clatterbridge,” he said.

Evusheld is a combination of two long-acting antibodies that bind to the spike protein on the outside of the SARS-CoV2 virus and prevents the virus from entering human cells. It has been shown in clinical trials to prevent COVID-19 infection for up to a year after a single dose of two injections, giving protection within a few hours.

Unlike vaccines, Evusheld does not depend on a healthy immune system to generate protective immunity. Although Evusheld is known to be effective against the Omicron variant, it is not yet known how long this protection lasts.

This clinical trial will assess Evusheld in combination with the Pfizer BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines in immunocompromised individuals. Approximately 350 participants will be recruited across the UK, including at The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre.

Prof Christian Ottesmeier

Everyone taking part in the study will receive an injection of Evusheld, followed four weeks later by a vaccination. They will then have regular blood tests over the course of the following year to assess their levels of immune protection.

The study, sponsored by the Centre for Trials Research at Cardiff University, is led by Oxford University Hospitals (OUH) NHS Foundation Trust, in collaboration with the University of Oxford, and the Principal Investigator at Clatterbridge is Director of Clinical Research, Prof Christian Ottensmeier.

Prof Ottensmeier said: “We are delighted to be working with our colleagues in Oxford and Cardiff on this vital research, which is very important for our patients here at Clatterbridge.

“COVID certainly has not gone away and this clinical research trial could help to develop a treatment that prevents serious illness in immunocompromised patients if they catch it.

“We are also grateful to Tony personally for coming forward to help with this research.”