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Greater Manchester health system unites to promote COVID-19 community research trial

Figures from across the Greater Manchester health system have joined forces to promote participation in an urgent clinical trial seeking to identify treatments for COVID-19.

A new video promotes the PRINCIPLE trial, which is investigating medications for early-stage COVID-19 that can reduce overall recovery time and the severity of symptoms. These treatments are needed so that patients can recover safely at home, and reduce admissions to hospitals.

The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) is urgently encouraging Greater Manchester and East Cheshire residents experiencing early COVID-19 symptoms to join the PRINCIPLE trial.

Health figures from various organisations in Greater Manchester have added their voice to this call – each calling on all local health and care professionals to direct potentially eligible patients to the study website to sign-up. The video includes individuals from:

NIHR Clinical Research Network (CRN) Greater Manchester, Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership, NIHR Applied Research Collaboration (ARC) Greater Manchester, Health Innovation Manchester, North West Ambulance Service NHS Trust, Research for the Future, Primary Care doctors and patients.

Any adult who has COVID-19 symptoms or a positive test may be eligible to join and help the search for new treatments from the comfort of their own home.

The trial, led by the University of Oxford and one of the UK government’s national priority trials for COVID-19 research, has already identified one effective treatment. It was announced last week that the widely available, inexpensive asthma drug budesonide investigated in the trial was found to shorten recovery times in COVID-19 patients aged over 50.

However PRINCIPLE is ongoing and is seeking to identify other treatments which could help more patients with COVID symptoms get better.

Dr Sheila McCorkindale, Specialty Lead for Primary Care at NIHR CRN Greater Manchester, said: “Clinical research is one of the NHS’ greatest assets in the fight against COVID-19 and has already helped identify safe and effective vaccines and medications that are helping reduce the risk of death in the sickest patients hospitalised with the virus.

“However, it’s also crucial that we determine which treatments can help people experiencing milder COVID symptoms, so they can get better at home and not need hospital treatment. The PRINCIPLE trial is the way we can do this, and I urge anyone aged over 18 who develops symptoms to take a look at the website or ask their GP or other healthcare provider about this study.”

Who is eligible for the PRINCIPLE trial? 

You have been experiencing COVID-19 symptoms for less than 15 days

AND: You are aged 65 or over
OR: You are aged over 18 with an underlying health condition
OR: You are aged 18 or over with breathlessness associated with COVID-19

You can view further information and sign-up on the PRINCIPLE trial website.