Clinicians urged to accelerate COVID-19 research recruitment


The Chief Medical Officers of all four nations of the UK and Professor Stephen Powis have written to the Medical Directors and the Directors of Pharmacy in Scotland to ask that every effort is made to enrol COVID-19 patients in the national priority clinical trials.


This move marks the acceleration of the research phase of the government strategy to address the COVID-19 threat. The UK Government has said that the research phase is aimed at achieving the following objectives:


  • Better understanding the virus and the actions that will lessen its effect on the UK population.
  • Innovate responses including diagnostics, drugs and vaccines.
  • Use the evidence to inform the development of the most effective models of care.


There are currently trials in primary care, hospital settings and intensive care units.


The key three national trials are:



Other priority studies, including observational studies, are listed here.


Urging clinicians to support the recruitment of patients to these trials the group commented:


“These trials are being run as simply as they can to reduce the burden on the NHS, with adaptive designs so further treatments can be added if new promising candidates are identified. The results are essential to the future treatment of UK and global patients.


“We will ensure important results are disseminated rapidly to improve practice. The faster that patients are recruited, the sooner we will get reliable results.


“While it is for every individual clinician to make prescribing decisions, we strongly discourage the use of off-licence treatments outside of a trial, where participation in a trial is possible. Use of treatments outside of a trial, where participation was possible, is a wasted opportunity to create information that will benefit others.


“The evidence will be used to inform treatment decisions and benefit patients in the immediate future.


“Any treatment given for coronavirus other than general supportive care, treatment for underlying conditions, and antibiotics for secondary bacterial complications, should currently be as part of a trial, where that is possible.”


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This circular is being shared under the Open Government Copyright licence.

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