1,000 Covid patients sign up to UK drug trial

An Addenbrooke’s led study supported by the NIHR Cambridge BRC and NIHR Cambridge Clinical Research Facility, has enrolled a thousand Covid patients to find new treatments for the long term consequences of the disease and reduce the number who die months after leaving hospital.

The clinical trial – named HEAL-COVID – also aims to cut the number patients being readmitted to hospital with complications as a result of having Covid.

Data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) suggests that around 1 in 10 patients with Covid-19 die in the six months after they leave hospital and more than 1 in 5 develop new or worsened symptoms during the first three months after discharge.

HEAL-COVID stands for Helping to Alleviate the Longer-term consequences of Covid-19 and is funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) and the NIHR Cambridge Biomedical Research Centre, and supported by the NIHR Cambridge Clinical Research Facility.

It is a clinical trial testing a number of safe, existing drugs to see if they can improve the longer-term outcomes for patients who have been hospitalised due to COVID-19.

Professor Charlotte Summers, pictured top right, who is leading the trial added: “Having survived the trauma of being hospitalised with Covid-19, far too many patients find themselves being readmitted with new or long term complications.

“Having launched this trial in March 2021, we still have thousands of people being treated in hospital due to Covid-19, and we will continue to offer them the opportunity to participate in HEAL-COVID so we can find treatments to improve their longer-term clinical outcomes.”


Dr Mark Toshner, honorary consultant at CUH, pictured left, added: “We are delighted that patients throughout the UK have access to this important study which remains the world’s largest post-hospital trial looking to reduce the longer term consequences of Covid-19.”

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

HEAL-COVID enrols patients when they are discharged from hospital, following their first admission for Covid-19.

They are randomised into 3 arms of the trial, receiving either the drug apixaban or atorvastatin or the usual care – and their progress tracked.

It’s hoped a fourth arm of the trial will be introduced soon, with a third drug being added on the recommendation of the UK COVID Therapeutic Advisory Panel (UK-CTAP).

Adapted from Cambridge University Hospitals article.

Charlotte Summers
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