Recovery: finding drugs to treat COVID-19
So far the struggle against COVID-19 we have heard about has concentrated on avoidance. Social isolation and social distancing have slowed the transmission of the virus but it is clear that this cannot continue indefinitely. A vaccine will take at least another 15 months and possibly 3-5 years to be widely available.
There has also been work going on about how we can best treat COVID-19 so that those people who do get ill with it can have the best chance of survival and full recovery.
Until now there are no drugs of proven value against COVID-19. Some drugs that might help but only small-scale trials have taken place throughout the world. Whilst the findings may be promising they are not statistically sound enough to base roll out of treatment into the general population.
The National Health Service (NHS) is going to run a large randomised evaluation of a variety of potential pharmaceutical treatments to see which have beneficial effects.
Data from the trial will be regularly reviewed so that any effective treatment can be identified quickly made widely available.
The trial has been named RECOVERY
The RECOVERY Trial will begin by testing some of these suggested treatments:
- Lopinavir-Ritonavir (commonly used to treat HIV)
- Low-dose Dexamethasone (a type of steroid, which is used in a range of conditions typically to reduce inflammation).
- Hydroxychloroquine (related to an anti-malarial drug)
- Azithromycin (a commonly used antibiotic)
All of these drugs have been used for many years and are expected to have minimal side effects.
To find out more about the trials visit: https://www.recoverytrial.net/