Paediatric research nurse Natalie Keenan, who was recently a runner-up in the Greater Manchester Clinical Research Awards.
Paediatric research nurse Natalie Keenan, who was recently a runner-up in the Greater Manchester Clinical Research Awards.
Macclesfield Hospital helps recruit children to national ARCHIE study
22 February 2017

Macclesfield Hospital’s Children’s Ward is recruiting to a national study led by the University of Oxford investigating the early use of antibiotics in children with underlying conditions who develop flu.

For most children, flu is a mild and relatively short illness. However, for those with pre-existing medical conditions such as asthma, diabetes, and cerebral palsy, as well as some children who were born prematurely, flu may lead to more serious complications such as pneumonia and ear infections.

The ARCHIE study, funded by the National Institute for Health Research, is working with a selection of GP surgeries and hospitals including Macclesfield District General to see whether early antibiotic treatment may prevent these children from developing further complications from flu.  As a result, parents of children with pre-existing conditions who appear to be developing flu are being asked to contact the hospital to assist with the research.

Lead researcher, Dr Kay Wang, a practising GP and academic clinical lecturer at Oxford University’s Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences, said: “The flu virus seems to particularly predispose children to bacterial infections, which may make children with flu-like illness even more unwell.  We therefore want to find out whether giving antibiotics early to children who we already know are at greater risk of bacterial complications can prevent these complications from developing and help children to recover more quickly.”

Recent research conducted by Dr Wang and colleagues has shown that children who were born prematurely are around twice as likely to be admitted to hospital after developing flu or flu-like illness. The research also found that children with neurological conditions and diabetes were at greater risk of developing flu-related complications.

“If we find that early antibiotic treatment is effective in these children,” continued Dr Wang, “this will help guide more accurate targeting of antibiotics in the community, and help minimise the development of antibiotic resistance due to unnecessary antibiotic prescribing.”

Parents of children in the Macclesfield area aged between 6 months and 12 years who may be able to help with the study should contact paediatric research nurse Natalie Keenan via 01625 661870 or within the first five days of their child developing flu-like symptoms.

Children will be tested to see whether they have the influenza virus and given a five-day course of study medication. Children may also have further optional tests to look at whether using antibiotics in this way may have implications for their effectiveness in treating future infections. 

Further details about the study and a list of other participating hospitals and GP surgeries can be found at