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New treatment for patients with COPD aims to offer protection from respiratory infections, including Covid-19


The NIHR National Patient Recruitment Centre: Newcastle (NIHR PRC: Newcastle), hosted by The Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, is looking for people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or bronchiectasis to take part in a clinical study which could help find new treatments for the conditions. 

The study is testing new treatments for people with COPD or bronchiectasis and offers people living with chronic lung conditions the opportunity to try a new treatment at home.

People with lung conditions such as COPD or bronchiectasis have a reduced ability to produce nitric oxide, a naturally occurring gas produced by healthy lungs which boosts the immune system and helps to fight viruses and infections, including Covid-19. 

The aim of the study is to find out whether nitric oxide helps to reduce the severity of a chest infection in people with lung conditions. 

Participants will initially be invited to attend an appointment at the NIHR PRC Newcastle (based in Fenham) with an NHS nurse or doctor. During the study, if participants develop a chest infection they will be sent a simple handheld nebuliser containing nitric oxide to use for seven days. 

Professor Tony De Soyza, Chief Investigator of the study and Professor of Pulmonary Medicine at Newcastle University, said: “Chest infections are a serious concern for our patients with COPD or bronchiectasis. Covid-19 has added to our worries and presents a major threat to these at-risk patients. We are delighted that RESP301 might provide an effective treatment for these patients”.

Clinical staff will contact patients on a daily basis while they take the treatment. Transport to and from the centre can be provided for the initial appointment which will take around two to three hours.

To take part, patients should not be currently living on their own.

If you have COPD and are interested in taking part or would like to find out more, contact the NIHR PRC: Newcastle team.


T: 0191 2823172

Notes to editor

  • COPD is a term for chronic lung conditions which include bronchitis, emphysema and fixed-airways disease and is characterised by breathlessness, increased sputum production and often a chronic cough. COPD patients are prone to worsening of symptoms and lung function due to infection; these flare-ups are known as exacerbations, and they tend to increase in frequency as the condition becomes more severe. Furthermore, exacerbations contribute to worsening of the condition and are associated with a decline in lung function and increased mortality.
  • In the UK, it is estimated that 3 million people have COPD, of whom two million are undiagnosed. Prevalence increases with age and most people are not diagnosed until they are in their 50s. Unlike many other common chronic diseases, the prevalence of COPD has not declined in recent years.