Rabia’s story…the early use of Antibiotics in at Risk Children with InfluEnza (ARCHIE) research project

By Sara Bennett, Clinical Research Nurse, Stockport NHS Foundation Trust

At Stockport NHS Foundation Trust we take part in many research studies ranging through many different conditions, including Down’s syndrome, asthma, epilepsy, diabetes, kidney conditions and studies helping premature babies. The ARCHIE study is just one of many research studies helping children, designed to see if treatments are safe, if treatments have any side effects or if new treatments are better than the standard available treatments.

Rabia, her mum Dr Cooper and Sara Bennett

Rabia with her mum, Paediatric Consultant Doctor Chris Cooper and Clinical Research Nurse Sara Bennett from Stockport NHS Foundation Trust.

Three year old Rabia attends Stockport NHS Foundation Trust on a weekly basis for sensory messy food play which is where her mum received an ARCHIE study leaflet. ARCHIE is a study looking at the use of antibiotics for children who, like Rabia and other children with Down’s Syndrome, may be more susceptible to complications from a flu-like illness. This means they may be unwell for longer, or get more poorly than other children with the same illness.

The ARCHIE researchers want to see if giving these children a 5-day course of antibiotics within the first 5 days of a flu-like illness will stop them getting more ill and/or help them feel better more quickly. It is a double-blind randomised placebo-controlled trial, meaning that children may receive either the antibiotic or a ‘dummy’ medication called a placebo and neither the family nor the research team gets to choose which. A computer programme allocates either the antibiotic or the placebo to each child at random. Both types of medication look the same, but the placebo does not contain any antibiotic.

In the autumn of 2015, after her mum had heard about the study, Rabia developed a cough, cold and fever. On day two of her symptoms Rabia’s mum telephoned the clinical research nurse Sara Bennett to express their interest in the ARCHIE study. Sara checked through her symptoms on the telephone to check that Rabia would be eligible for the study, and once this was confirmed arrangements were made for Rabia to attend the out-patient clinic to meet with Paediatric Consultant Doctor Chris Cooper and Sara the following day.

As a result of this visit to Paediatric Outpatients in the Tree House at Stockport NHS Foundation Trust, Rabia was the first patient in England during the 2015-2016 winter season to be entered into the ARCHIE study.

In addition to their visit to Tree House Mum took the parent diary booklet home to complete over the coming month to monitor how Rabia responded to the study medication and to see how quickly she got better. Rabia also enjoyed adding the stickers to the balloons in the child booklet, as she took her medicine twice a day for five days.

If you would like to know more about the work the Paediatric research team at Stockport NHS Foundation Trust to take part in studies please contact Sara on her e-mail address Sara.Bennett@stockport.nhs.uk.

You can learn more about the ARCHIE study, including the locations of other participating hospitals and GP surgeries, at www.archiestudy.com