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Scientists who found Covid-19 drugs to trial life-saving flu treatments as cases increase

  • November 29, 2022

REMAP-CAP is designed to yield answers quickly, the researchers explained, by using a “robust yet rapid” approach to trial multiple treatments in thousands of people — from across 150 hospitals in the UK — simultaneously.

The NIHR Clinical Research Network’s deputy medical director Professor Paul Mark said: “The scale of this study, requiring us to coordinate patient involvement across at least 150 NHS acute hospitals, is a huge undertaking that draws on the UK’s world-leading research infrastructure.”

The trial will be highly adaptive, allowing the team to translate early results to better treatments for participants as the trial progresses — as well as removing drugs that are not working and exploring other options instead. It is intended to run for two years in the first instance, and will explore the efficacy of various treatments.

These will include the antivirals baloxavir and oseltamivir (sold under the brand name Tamiflu) as well as various steroids and anti-inflammatory drugs that were found to be effective against COVID-19 in the original REMAP-CAP trial — including dexamethasone, baricitinib and tocilizumab.

Treatments will be trialled alone, in combination, and for different durations to find the optimum method for treating flu. The involvement of infectious disease experts and virologists in the trial will allow the team to carefully monitor to see if the flu virus becomes resistant to any of the antiviral drugs tested in the trial.

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