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Case study: Taking part in COVID-19 research: Janice Rowan

Oxfordshire’s Janice Rowan took asthma drug budesonide through an inhaler as part of an NHS trial after testing positive for COVID-19.

The PRINCIPLE trial looked at whether a short course of existing drugs can reduce the severity of COVID-19 symptoms in vulnerable groups and help avoid hospital admission.

Mrs Rowan, a housing manager, said: “A lot of my colleagues were reporting symptoms of COVID-19 so I went for a test just to rule it out and was really surprised that it came back positive because I felt really well.

“About four days after I started feeling really unwell. I don’t think I’ve ever been that poorly before. The headache was the worst problem, it was absolutely dreadful. The thing that caused me the most anxiety was the cough. I thought about the damage to the lungs and I was worried I could be hospitalised.”

The grandmother-of-one, who has high blood pressure, was offered the trial by her GP at Banbury Cross Health Centre. She said: “My doctor asked me if I wanted to take part and I just said ‘yes’ without really thinking about it. Then I got the inhaler through the post a couple of days later. I started to feel much better in myself three or four days later.”

The trial found budesonide shorterns recovery time in patients at risk of more severe illness and ruled out two further drugs.

Mrs Rowan said: “I was quite fortunate because I seem to have recovered quite quickly and don’t have any symptoms of long COVID. Although, after the trial ended, it still took me four or five weeks to get over the feelings of tiredness and fatigue.

“I would absolutely recommend taking part in research. I read about the drug being approved and I was really pleased. It was nice to get the outcome.

“There were so many people doing their bit on the frontline, facing horrendous situations in the ward. For me it would have seemed ridiculous to say no to taking part in the trial when it was such an easy thing to do.”