Published: 18th February 2021
Oxford University's COVID-19 therapeutics trial goes global to get faster results
Peter Horby, professor of Emerging Infectious Diseases and Global Health at Oxford, said he hoped that expanding the trial internationally would help researchers assess potential treatments faster
A UK trial of potential Covid-19 treatments has started to enrol patients in other countries in the hope of speeding up results, Oxford University said on Thursday.
CNN reported that The RECOVERY trial looks at whether existing drugs can be used to treat the virus. The trial has enrolled more than 36,000 hospital patients in the UK since March 2020 and is now expanding to countries including Indonesia and Nepal.
"The Randomised Evaluation of COVID-19 Therapy (RECOVERY) Trial, the world's largest clinical trial for COVID-19 treatments, has now expanded internationally with Indonesia and Nepal among the first countries to join. The first patients have been recruited to RECOVERY International," the trial said in a news release.
Peter Horby, professor of Emerging Infectious Diseases and Global Health at Oxford, said he hoped that expanding the trial internationally would enable researchers to assess potential treatments more quickly.
Calling the trial an "enormous success" he said that the trial has enrolled "over 36,000 patients and (is) delivering clear results on six treatments already."
"By building on this success through international partnership we can speed up the assessment of novel treatments, increase the global relevance of the trial results, build capacity, and reduce wasted efforts on small uninformative studies," he said.
"It is particularly important to find readily and affordable treatments for COVID-19 that can be used worldwide... RECOVERY International will help us to identify effective treatments that can be used in less well-resourced settings," he added.
CNN further reported that the trial has tested a number of drugs to determine which work against COVID-19 and which don't. Last year, the trial's researchers found that the "cheap" steroid dexamethasone reduced the risk of death for the sickest Covid-19 patients - but that the anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine was of no benefit.
The trial, last week, released preliminary results showing that the rheumatoid arthritis drug tocilizumab could also save the lives of patients hospitalised with severe Covid-19.
"The Randomised Evaluation of COVID-19 Therapy (RECOVERY) trial has demonstrated that an anti-inflammatory treatment, tocilizumab, reduces the risk of death when given to hospitalised patients with severe COVID-19. The study also showed that tocilizumab shortens the time until patients are successfully discharged from hospital and reduces the need for a mechanical ventilator," according to REOCVERY's website.
In Indonesia and Nepal, the trial will initially focus on aspirin and colchicine, a drug for gout, the trial's website stated further "since these are readily available and affordable but, like RECOVERY in the UK, the trial is adaptive and new drugs will be added over time."
As per the latest updates by Johns Hopkins University, the global coronavirus cases currently stand at 109,987,995 while the fatalities due to the deadly pathogen are at 2,432,430.