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UK trial to prevent post-discharge COVID relapse

Thursday March 25th 2021

A clinical trial is being launched in the UK to reduce the number of people who die in the months following a hospital treatment for COVID-19.

HEAL-COVID (Helping to Alleviate the Longer-term consequences of COVID-19) also aims to cut the number being readmitted to hospital with complications after having the virus.

It will test a number of safe, existing drugs on patients to find effective treatments, including statins.

The trial is being led by Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (CUH) and University of Cambridge, with Liverpool Clinical Trials Centre (University of Liverpool) and Aparito Limited.

It will enrol patients when they are discharged from hospital, following their first admission for COVID-19 and they will be randomised and given either apixaban or atorvastatin, with their progress tracked.

It is hoped a third drug will be introduced soon to the trial on the recommendation of the UK COVID Therapeutic Advisory Panel (UK-CTAP).

The trial follows Office for National Statistics (ONS) data that suggest that 29% of patients who have hospital treatment for COVID-19 are readmitted within six months, and more than 12% die within the same period.

Study lead Dr Charlotte Summers, from the University of Cambridge and Addenbrooke's Hospital, said: “Having survived the trauma of being hospitalised with COVID-19, far too many patients find themselves back in hospital with new or long-term complications.

“Unfortunately, many go on to die in the months after being discharged. This trial is the first of its kind to look at what drugs we could use to reduce the devastating impact on patients.”

Prof Carrol Gamble, director of the Liverpool Clinical Trials Centre, said: “This is an exciting opportunity to help people in the post-acute phase of COVID-19. The trial is designed to allow us to remove or add-in treatment options in response to patient outcomes.”

NHS medical director, Professor Stephen Powis, said: “After the NHS identified dexamethasone as the first treatment in the world for COVID-19, the HEAL-COVID trial could help to find new treatments for the after-effects of COVID.

“Long COVID can have a significant impact on someone’s quality of life, which is exactly why in addition to funding research into the condition, the NHS has invested millions into opening dozens of dedicated clinics to help people get back to good health,” he added.

HEAL-COVID is being funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) and the Cambridge NIHR Biomedical Research Centre.

Tags: Flu & Viruses | Pharmaceuticals | UK News

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