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Researchers from the University of Oxford are working on a number of clinical trials to test the effects of potential drug treatments for patients admitted to hospital with Covid-19.
One of the major trials underway is the RECOVERY trial (This link contains a video of Chief Investigator Professor Peter Horby talking about the project). There are currently no specific treatments for Covid-19, but it is possible that some existing drugs usually used for other conditions may have some benefits – but they may not. The RECOVERY trial aims to provide doctors with the information they need to determine which treatments should be used. Initially the trial will look at Lopinavir-Ritonavir, normally used for HIV, the steroid Dexamethasone, Hydroxychloroquine which is related to an anti-malarial drug, the commonly used antibiotic Azithromycin, and the anti-inflammatory treatment Tocilizumab. An expert panel advises on the drugs to be included in the trial, and more are expected to be added with time.
Another of the other major trials is the PRINCIPLE trial. This trial looks at people who are at higher risk of becoming more ill when they are infected with Covid-19, that is people aged 50 and older with underlying health conditions, and those aged 65 and older. The trial aims to find out whether selected treatments can help reduce the need for hospitalisation and the length of stay required. The aim is to help people recover quicker and with fewer complications.
Oxford is conducting other Covid-19 clinical trials too. They will provide the data so that effective treatments can be identified quickly and made available to patients.