Play a part in coronavirus research without stepping outside
Researchers in North Thames are running a COVID-19 trial that over 50s can get involved in without the need to step outside – and have just added a potential new treatment to the trial.
People experiencing symptoms likely to be caused by a Covid-19 infection can take part if they are 65 and over, or over 50 with underlying health conditions.
The NIHR-supported study, led by the University of Oxford, is evaluating whether certain commonly used medicines may prevent COVID-19 patients in the community from becoming more unwell and needing hospital care. Several medicines with well-known safety profiles are being evaluated and compared with usual treatments.
Now, the trial is to start investigating the inhaled corticosteroid budesonide, often used to treat asthma, to find out if it can help treat COVID-19 in patients who aren’t in hospital.
Currently, there are no specific treatments for use in the community that are known to work effectively against COVID-19. Finding new treatments could reduce the number of people required to go to hospital and potentially, help save lives.
The PRINCIPLE study is looking at patients who are especially vulnerable to Covid-19 because of age, or pre-existing health conditions such as heart disease or a weakened immune system. Evidence shows that people aged 50 years and over are at higher risk of developing more severe illness and complications.
With the number of cases across London remaining high, residents are being urged to sign up and take part in this national priority COVID-19 clinical trial from the comfort of their own homes.
As a community-based primary care COVID-19 trial, no face to face visits are required of those taking part - just telephone or internet access. Participant packs will be couriered to patients' homes. In addition to the clinical study team being at the end of the phone, participant’s GP practices will also be notified of the study and can discuss it with anyone taking part.
Local NHS researchers and GPs involved in the trial are asking people experiencing symptoms likely to be caused by a Covid-19 infection for less than 16 days to get in touch.
Dr Mehul Mathukia, GP and Primary Care Specialty Lead at NIHR Clinical Research Network North Thames said:
"The NHS is looking for medicines that can help people with COVID-19 symptoms get better quickly and stop them needing to go to hospital. We urge members of the public to join this trial. The PRINCIPLE Trial is entirely remote. You can participate from the comfort of your own home from anywhere in the UK with no face-to-face visits required."
Co-lead Investigator, Professor Chris Butler from Oxford University’s Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences, said:
“Budesonide is relatively cheap, safe and easy-to-administer drug for respiratory conditions that may have a role to play in treating COVID-19. It is only through enrolling volunteers on a randomised controlled trial like PRINCIPLE that we can assess whether there are clear benefits or harms associated with potential treatments like budesonide.
“We need many more volunteers to join the trial so we can get the answers we really need to keep people with COVID-19 out of hospital. Like vaccines and preventative measures, treatments have an important role to play in minimising the burden of this disease on society.”
Researchers from the study are working with GP surgeries, care homes, NHS111 and ambulance services right across the country to help their patients take part, but London residents who meet the criteria can enrol online themselves.
Those wishing to find out more or wanting to get involved can visit the PRINCIPLE website for more information. You can also telephone the study team on 0800 138 0880 to ask questions and for further information.
The study is funded from UK Research and Innovation and the Department of Health and Social Care through the National Institute of Health Research as part of the Government’s rapid research response fund.
Anyone meeting the criteria and experiencing possible COVID-19 symptoms is invited to get in touch or take a look at the trial website.