RECOVERY trial to investigate flu treatments

The Oxford-based RECOVERY trial, which discovered four effective treatments for COVID-19, is to investigate treatments for influenza, it has been announced.

Although influenza remains one of the greatest threats to human health, there are no effective drugs to treat people with severe flu.

A few large-scale clinical trials have evaluated treatments for patients hospitalised with influenza, but the team behind the RECOVERY trial say its streamlined design, large scale, and practical integration into routine healthcare make it well-placed to also improve the care of severe influenza patients.

Sir Peter Horby, joint chief investigator for the RECOVERY trial, said: “As well as being the greatest pandemic risk, influenza remains a serious annual scourge. In a bad year, as many as 25,000 people in the UK die as a result of influenza. Yet we have no treatments that have been proven to improve outcomes in hospitalised patients. By including influenza in the RECOVERY trial, we have the opportunity to change this and find new treatments for this persistent menace.”

The study will also be open to patients hospitalised with confirmed influenza in selected hospital sites in France, Italy and the Netherlands through a new partnership between the University of Oxford and Ecraid (the European Clinical Research Alliance on Infectious Diseases).

Hospitals that have previously participated in RECOVERY in India, Indonesia, Nepal and Vietnam, and Ghana and South Africa, will also be able to recruit patients to the trial.

Participants will be randomly allocated to receive either the usual standard of care or the usual standard of care plus at least one of the treatments in the trial: oseltamivir, baloxavir marboxil, and low dose corticosteroids.

Sir Martin Landray, joint chief investigator for RECOVERY, said: “RECOVERY was designed to provide a robust test of possible treatments for COVID-19 whilst keeping the burden on hospital staff and the health system to a minimum.

“This approach led to the discovery of effective treatments for COVID-19, such as dexamethasone, which have now saved hundreds of thousands of lives around the world. We are now expanding this approach to tackle the long-term challenge of influenza.”

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