There are currently no specific treatments for COVID-19. It is possible that some existing drugs usually used for other conditions may have some benefits – but they may not. The Randomised Evaluation of COVid-19 thERapY (RECOVERY) trial will provide doctors and the health service with information they need to determine which treatments should be used.
The treatments initially included in the study have been recommended by an expert panel that advises the Chief Medical Officer in England. These are Lopinavir-Ritonavir, normally used to treat HIV, and the steroid dexamethasone, which is used in a wide range of conditions to reduce inflammation. The safety and side effects of both drugs are well known. In the future, the RECOVERY trial will be expanded to assess the impact of other potential treatments as they become available.
The chance to join the trial will be offered to adult inpatients who have tested positive for COVID-19 in NHS hospitals, and who have not been excluded for medical reasons. All patients will receive the usual standard of care. Patients joining the trial will be allocated at random by computer to receive one of the two drugs being studied or no additional medication. This will enable researchers to see whether any of the possible new treatments are more or less effective than those currently used for patients with COVID-19.