World’s Largest Trial of Potential Coronavirus Treatments Deployed Across the UK


The world’s largest randomized clinical trial of potential treatments for coronaviruses is underway in the UK as part of the race to find a treatment.

A number of promising treatments are being tested and, if science supports them, they will be given to NHS patients as soon as possible.

Final results on the safety and effectiveness of treatments are expected in the next few months and, if positive, could potentially benefit hundreds of thousands of people around the world.

Almost 1,000 patients from 132 different hospitals have already been recruited in just 15 days and thousands more are expected to join the COVID-19 randomized trial in the coming weeks, making it the largest randomized controlled trial of potential COVID. 19 treatments worldwide.

Health and Social Affairs Secretary Matt Hancock said:

The coronavirus epidemic has been the biggest public health emergency in a generation, and we are doing everything we can to fight it on all fronts with our evidence-based action plan.

The UK is at the forefront of research in the race for treatment and we have now launched the largest trial in the world, pooling our resources with our global life sciences sector.

As one of the top three government-funded trials, this marks an important step in our battle with the coronavirus and offers renewed hope that together we can beat this.

The public still has a crucial role to play by staying at home so that we can protect the NHS and save lives.

The trial is testing a number of drugs recommended by a group of experts advising the Chief Physician of England. They include:

  • Lopinavir-Ritonavir, commonly used to treat HIV
  • Dexamethasone, a type of steroid use in a range of conditions to reduce inflammation
  • Hydroxychloroquine, a treatment for malaria

The trial is being conducted in more than 130 NHS hospitals across the United Kingdom. Adult patients admitted to the hospital with COVID-19 are invited to participate. The test is specially designed so that as other drugs are identified, they can be added to the study within a few days.

The chief medical officer, Professor Chris Whitty, said:

The UK has leading global life sciences and research sectors and, thanks to our joint health care and health research system, we were able to involve hundreds of patients in this clinical trial by only 2 weeks.

This marks an important step in identifying treatments for coronaviruses that could benefit patients and underpins our scientific approach to fighting this virus.

The study is coordinated by researchers from the University of Oxford, led by Peter Horby, professor of emerging infectious diseases and global health in the Department of Medicine at Nuffield, and Martin Landray, professor of medicine and epidemiology in the Department of health of the populations of Nuffield.

To ensure that health system research resources are directed to the national effort, the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) has put in place a national process to prioritize COVID-19 research. One of the priority ones is the RECOVERY trial.

The study received £ 2.1 million from UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) and the Department of Health and Welfare, through the NIHR. It is part of a larger investment of £ 20 million in rapid response to government research to support research into ways to fight the coronavirus epidemic.

The move further strengthens the “research” phase of the government’s coronavirus action plan.

This results in decisive action from the UK drug regulator to speed up clinical trials for potential treatments for coronaviruses, which means NHS patients could have faster access if the drugs prove to be effective.

The Medicines and Health Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has worked hard to put procedures in place to help manufacturers and researchers develop these treatments and approve clinical trial requests in days rather than days. Several weeks. His experience as a world-renowned regulator means that these quick approvals are based on the latest scientific advice and do not compromise the government’s top priority to maintain patient safety.

Peter Horby, professor of emerging infectious diseases and global health in the Department of Medicine at Nuffield, University of Oxford, said:

The RECOVERY trial will provide vital evidence on the best care for patients with COVID-19. The more patients enrolled, the sooner we will know how to best treat this disease.

We are very grateful to the patients who participate and to the hospital and research staff who help us find the best treatments.

Notes to the editor

  • View all trial details
  • COVID-19 patients are offered the opportunity to participate in this trial. If they agree, they will be randomly assigned to standard of care alone or standard of care plus 1 of 3 additional treatments
  • The trial began on March 19. It was implemented in record time: first protocol to the first patient in 9 days and 13 days to reach 500 patients. In the first 2 weeks, nearly 1,000 patients were enrolled
  • The data will be analyzed on an ongoing basis so that all beneficial treatments can be identified as soon as possible. The faster patients are recruited, the faster the reliable results
  • The other 2 key national trials are PRINCIPE and REMAP-CAP
  • Learn more about NIHR’S national COVID-19 research prioritization process. See details on the process and the new single entry point to prioritize COVID-19 studies


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