Anti-viral drug trial launched to cure the effects of long Covid

An estimated two million people across the UK suffer with the effects of the disease and a new study has finally been launched to address the problem.  

This week the University of Derby announced it is leading the £1.2m study that involved around 100 people who have lived with long Covid for more than two years.

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Estimated to last around nine months, the study will look at whether the virus ‘persists within specific cells of the infected person, causing an associated inflammatory response’ when they exercise.

Study lead, Dr Mark Faghy, Associate Professor in Respiratory Physiology at the University of Derby, said: ‘We have seen that long COVID has a huge impact on the lives of patients. However, at present, there are no confirmed treatments that have improved patient outcomes.

‘This project will shed light on whether using existing antiviral treatment could help address this global challenge. Millions have been affected by this terrible condition which makes research like this critically important as we seek to find new ways to improve care.’

The team involved with this new trial have previously conducted a variety of international studies to explore the impacts of acute and long Covid. During this work, experts have engaged with healthcare providers and long covid patients to understand how they are being impacted.

Professor David Strain, the clinical lead based at the University of Exeter Medical School, elaborates: ‘This study is an important first step to identify potential treatment options for this devastating condition. Inflammation in the body and brain are closely associated with symptoms of long COVID. If treatment demonstrates improvements in these measures, this could lead to improved symptoms for people with long COVID. If this study is successful, we hope to progress to a larger study targeting improving symptoms in 2024.’

From the beginning of 2024, people will be invited to take part in the study, which is also running at the University of Exeter and Burton NHS Foundation Trust as well as University Hospitals of Derby.

Image: Martin Sanchez

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