The ATOMIC2 trial, which was supported by the NIHR Oxford Biomedical Research Centre (BRC), was established to investigate if a common antibiotic called azithromycin could prevent patients with mild-moderate COVID-19 from getting worse.
Azithromycin is a safe, inexpensive and commonly prescribed antibiotic that is available worldwide. It has a wide range of antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and antiviral properties, but there were no strong data proving whether it was effective in COVID-19.
In the last few months, several trials have reported their results. Four trials have assessed the treatment in nearly 9,000 hospitalised patients and found no benefit from azithromycin in reducing the number of deaths or how long people stay in hospital.