Coronavirus: world's biggest trial of drug to treat Covid-19 begins in UK - (The Guardian via NewsPoints Desk)

  • The world's biggest trial of drugs to treat Covid-19 patients has been set up in the UK, with researchers hoping to have data available within weeks, reported The Guardian.

  • The RECOVERY trial has enrolled over 5000 patients in 165 NHS hospitals around the UK in a month, ahead of similar trials in the US and Europe, which have a few hundred. "This is by far the largest trial in the world," said Peter Horby, a professor at Oxford University, who is leading it.

  • The team expects to be the first to have definitive data, with Horby saying "we're guessing some time in June we may get the results…If it is really clear that there are benefits, an answer will be available quicker." However, he warned that there would be no "magic bullet" with COVID-19.

  • Both hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin are being tested separately as part of the trial, and if there is any effect in patients given those drugs alone, compared with those given no drugs, they can be combined later.

  • Also in the trial now are a combination of two antiretroviral drugs used in HIV treatment, lopinavir-ritonavir, known by the brand name Kaletra, and low-dose dexamethasone, a type of steroid used in a range of conditions, typically to reduce inflammation.

  • Horby indicated that the next one to be included is the IL-6 antagonist tocilizumab, one of the immunomodulator drugs used in rheumatoid arthritis and to treat cytokine storm. The news source said repurposed drugs will be tested first because they already have a proven safety record, but as experimental drugs come along, RECOVERY will include those as well.

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