Residents across Wales with Covid-19 symptoms are being urged to join the world’s largest trial of treatments at home to prevent deterioration from coronavirus.
Led by University of Oxford researchers, and supported by Health and Care Research Wales, the Platform Randomised Trial of Treatments in the Community for Epidemic and Pandemic Illnesses (PRINCIPLE) trial is investigating treatments for early-stage Covid-19 to reduce overall recovery time and prevent hospital admission.
A widely used anti-parasite drug, Ivermectin, is the latest treatment part of this trial. People aged 18 to 64 with certain underlying health conditions or shortness of breath from COVID-19, or aged over 65, are eligible to join within the first 14 days of experiencing COVID-19 symptoms.
Earlier this year, the study was the largest globally to find that the inhaled asthma drug called budesonide can be effective as a treatment for reducing the time it took to recover from Covid-19 at home.
The research team are now appealing for people with coronavirus symptoms or a positive test within the past 15 days to join the trial either online, over the telephone or via their GP practice. The trial is entirely remote, meaning face-to-face visits are not needed.
52-year-old Sean Foley, who works for the police, was a participant on the trial after he tested positive for COVID-19 on Christmas Day.
“After ten days, I was still feeling rough, so called my doctor and he explained about the PRINCIPLE trial and asked me if I’d be interested in being involved”, he said.
“I was finding it really hard to breathe and thought if this might help to clear it up then great!
“I wasn’t nervous to take part. I trusted the doctors and I’d definitely encourage others to be involved. It’s a trial that can help other people, and yourself, to get better.”
Health and Care Research Wales Primary Care Speciality Lead and GP in Swansea Bay University Health Board, Dr Andrew Carson-Stevens, said: “Vaccines are only part of the solution. The fight isn’t over just yet. We must continue to research treatments to help speed up recovery and stop people becoming seriously ill.
“GPs will need these treatments to reduce the amount of people needing to go to hospital and in order to do that we need the support from volunteers across Wales.
“So, if you meet the criteria, please visit the website or inform your GP that you’d like to help this national effort.”
PRINCIPLE trial co-lead, Professor Chris Butler, and GP in Mountain Ash said: “With variants of Covid-19 still circulating in the community it is vital that we seize this window of opportunity to generate high-quality evidence to determine which treatments work, and which don’t.”
PRINCIPLE is funded by a grant to the University of Oxford from UK Research and Innovation and the Department of Health and Social Care through the National Institute for Health Research as part of the UK Government’s rapid research response fund. To find out more about how to join the study, visit www.principletrial.org or call 0800 138 0880.