UK launches large-scale clinical trial for potential COVID-19 treatments

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, a large-scale randomized clinical trial is to initiate in the UK to assess some of the potential treatments for COVID-19. The RECOVERY trial, which is being sponsored by the University of Oxford and will be conducted at over 130 NHS hospitals, is the largest study of its kind in the world with over 5,000 planned participants. It has already recruited over 1,000 patients within just 15 days. Large studies like this will help provide data-driven evidence of which potential treatments are providing benefits to COVID-19 patients, says GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.

Johanna Swanson, Product Manager at GlobalData comments: “With more patients being enrolled and treatments being examined, we will get a better view of what is working for the differing levels of illness severity. The rapidity at which these studies are being launched provides some hope for faster results. We expect some safety and effectiveness data within the coming months.”

The trial is an Urgent Public Health Research Study scheduled to receive $2.6m of rapid research response funding from the UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) and the UK Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC). It took just nine day to set up from initial agreement with the DHSC to the first patient being recruited. Normally this process would take about six to nine months. The aim is to keep the trial simple, with short protocols and minimized load on already overworked hospitals and staff.

Drugs to be assessed by the trial include the HIV drugs lopinavir-ritonavir, the anti-inflammation steroid dexamethasone, and the anti-malarial hydroxychloroquine.

One of the drugs in the trial, lopinavir/ritonavir  has already received mixed results in a study from China. Researchers at the Jin Yin-Tan Hospital treated 199 COVID-19 patients with lopinavir/ritonavir. Patients with severe COVID-19 showed no benefit over standard care for the primary end point of time to clinical improvement, but showed some secondary end point benefits for reduced mortality rates.

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