Globally, seasonal flu epidemics are estimated to kill between 290,000 and 650,000 people every year. Despite having known about influenza for almost a century and knowing that pandemic influenza remains one of the greatest threats to human health, we still do not have effective drugs for treating people with severe influenza.
Until now, few large-scale clinical trials have evaluated treatments for patients hospitalised with influenza. However, the features of the RECOVERY trial that made it such a success against COVID-19 – including its streamlined design, large scale, and practical integration into routine healthcare – make it well-placed to also improve the care of severe influenza patients.
Sir Peter Horby, Moh Family Foundation Professor of Emerging Infectious and Global Health in the Nuffield Department of Medicine, University of Oxford, and Joint Chief Investigator for the RECOVERY trial, said ‘As well as being the greatest pandemic risk, influenza remains a serious annual scourge. In a bad year, as many as 25,000 people in the UK die as a result of influenza.