Notes for editors
About the RECOVERY trial
In March 2020, the RECOVERY (Randomised Evaluation of COVid-19 thERapY) trial was established as a randomised clinical trial to test a range of potential treatments for COVID-19, including tocilizumab (an anti-inflammatory used to treat rheumatoid arthritis). Over 35,000 patients have been enrolled so far from 177 NHS hospitals in the UK.
Patients eligible for the tocilizumab comparison in RECOVERY were required to have an oxygen saturation less than 92% on room air or requiring oxygen (with or without other forms of respiratory support), and a C-reactive protein (a marker of inflammation) level of at least 75mg/L.
In June 2020, the RECOVERY trial demonstrated that the inexpensive and widely available steroid, dexamethasone, reduced the risk of death by one-third for patients on an invasive mechanical ventilator and by one-fifth for those requiring oxygen. This was the first treatment for COVID-19 shown to save lives and was rapidly adopted as part of standard hospital treatment around the world.
The trial has previously announced results showing that hydroxychloroquine, lopinavir-ritonavir, azithromycin, and convalescent plasma have no benefits for patients hospitalised with COVID-19.
The RECOVERY trial is continuing to investigate the following treatments:
- aspirin (commonly used to thin the blood)
- baricitinib (an anti-inflammatory used to treat rheumatoid arthritis)
- colchicine (a commonly used anti-inflammatory drug)
- Regeneron’s antibody cocktail (a combination of monoclonal antibodies directed against coronavirus)
The RECOVERY trial involves many thousands of doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and research administrators at 177 hospitals across the whole of the UK, supported by staff at the NIHR Clinical Research Network, NHS DigiTrials, Public Health England, Public Health Scotland, Department of Health & Social Care, and the NHS in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
The RECOVERY Trial is conducted by the registered clinical trials units with the Nuffield Department of Population Health in partnership with the Nuffield Department of Medicine. The trial is supported by a grant to the University of Oxford from UK Research and Innovation/National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) and by core funding provided by NIHR Oxford Biomedical Research Centre, Wellcome, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office, Health Data Research UK, the Medical Research Council Population Health Research Unit, and NIHR Clinical Trials Unit Support Funding. Roche Products Ltd supported the RECOVERY trial through the provision of tocilizumab.
- Tocilizumab is an anti-intereukin (IL)-6 receptor therapy.
- IL-6 is a cellular messenger in the body, known as a cytokine, involved in the regulation of the immune system, inflammation, bone formation and blood cell development (among other functions).
- IL-6 is believed to play a key role in activating the inflammatory pathway that contributes to the signs and symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. Tocilizumab binds to IL-6 receptors, blocking the pro-inflammatory effect of IL-6.
- In the UK, tocilizumab is approved for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, polyarticular juvenile idiopathic arthritis, systemic juvenile idiopathic arthritis, giant cell arteritis, and chimeric antigen receptor T cell-induced cytokine release syndrome.
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Last edited: 11 February 2021 5:22 pm