University of Oxford investigators have commenced a new clinical trial called the RECOVERY trial to asses the effects of experimental drug treatments for patients hospitalized due to SARS-CoV-2. With the first patients now recruited the trial has been initiated.
With currently no treatment for COVID-19, there are a range of potential targets but no one can be certain if any of these actually will be more effective than the standard of care in hospitals. The RECOVERY trial has been designed to test some of these experimental treatments including:
· Lopinavir-Ritonavir (commonly used to treat HIV)
· Low-dose Dexamethasone (a type of steroid which is used in a range of conditions to reduce inflammation)
· Hydroxychloroquine (an anti-malarial drug and involved with many studies now)
· Inhaled interferon-beta 1 a (an antiviral drug not currently used in this trial)
The University of Oxford researchers will regularly review the data generated from this study to better prepare for an effective treatment and hence, quickly adjust to help as many patients as possible. The study protocol can be reviewed here.
The Study Drugs Recommendation
The study treatments were recommended apparently by an expert panel advising England’s Chief Medical Officer.
Principal Investigator Comments
Peter Horby serves as Chief Investigator of the study and reports there are a number of drugs suggested but we don’t know if they are effective and we need the evidence to move forward with confidence which necessitates a clinical trial. COVID-19 will put enormous stress on everyone so the trial must be as simple as possible. Professor Horby reports a number of objectives including 1) gather the best available evidence we can in quickest possible time 2) protect patients and 3) make sure that the health service is protected so the doctors and nurses and other staff are not overburdened with too much administration. It is a very simple clinical trial; every patient will be given an opportunity to enter the trial and if they agree they will be allocated to a number of the options mentioned above.
Peter Horby, Professor of Emerging Infectious Diseases and Global Health, Nuffield Department of Medicine, University of Oxford, and Chief Investigator for the trial
Martin Landray, Professor of Medicine and Epidemiology, Nuffield Department of Population Health, University of Oxford, Deputy Chief Investigator