Clinical trials are the gold standard when evaluating the potential of a novel treatment. A standard that should not be compromised during a pandemic. However undertaking clinical studies during a pandemic is challenging, as we need to understand how many people will be infected and where these infections will take place. The situation is made more complex by the fact that COVID-19 is a novel disease. There is limited understanding of the natural history of the disease, which makes it difficult to choose how effectiveness of a treatment should be assessed.
We are working closely with clinical experts, to utilise efficient (adaptive) trial designs to evaluate possible treatment options for COVID-19. Key to our work is having the opportunity to dismiss insufficiently promising treatments quickly, and at the same time, allow early decisions about positive effects to be made early as well. We are also exploring multiple treatments within one trial.
The three main trials we are involved in are:
A national clinical trial which aims to identify treatments that may be beneficial for people hospitalised with suspected or confirmed COVID-19.
A new clinical trial platform that has been launched specifically to test new COVID-19 treatments, faster than ever before.
A large “platform” trial that will test several treatments intended to reduce the spread of COVID-19 within care homes, and reduce the risks of hospitalisation and death. A trial platform allows multiple treatments to be tested in parallel with results analysed regularly.
This platform aims to identify treatments that may be beneficial for people discharged from hospital after recovering from COVID-19 (Long-COVID).
Find out more:
- Podcast: NIHR Podcast with Thomas Jaki on the AGILE initiative and the advantages and challenges of Platform Trials
- The AGILE Clinical Trial Platform
- Randomised Evaluation of COVID-19 Therapy (RECOVERY Trial)