Drug trial to reduce Covid-19 deaths after patients leave hospital launched in Cambridge

  • Watch a report by ITV News Anglia's Rob Setchell

Cambridge researchers are leading a UK-wide drug trial aimed at reducing the number of people who die after being treated in hospital for Covid-19.

Data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) suggests that 29% of patients who are hospitalised due to coronavirus are readmitted within six months and more than 12% die in the same period.

The trial - called HEAL-COVID - will look at the efficacy of two drugs, apixaban and atorvastatin, in reducing illness or death; a third drug may be introduced in the coming weeks.

Mark Tietz survived two weeks on a ventilator and after leaving hospital, he hoped his battle with the virus was won. But more than a month later, back home in Stretham near Ely in Cambridgeshire, he's still dealing with Covid's consequences.

Mark Tietz from Cambridgeshire was on a ventilator for a fortnight and still suffers the effects of long Covid

Mark says he still suffers from shortness of breath: "If I just go out and mow the lawn, take the dog for a walk, I can probably get to the end of the roadway and then I start panting."

Dr Charlotte Summers, from the University of Cambridge and Addenbrooke's Hospital, who's leading the study, said: "Having survived the trauma of being hospitalised with Covid-19, far too many patients find themselves back in hospital with new or long term complications.

"Unfortunately, many go on to die in the months after being discharged. This trial is the first of its kind to look at what drugs we could use to reduce the devastating impact on patients."

The Covid drugs trial is being spearheaded by Addenbrooke's Hospital and the University of Cambridge

The study is being funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) and the Cambridge NIHR Biomedical Research Centre.

Professor Stephen Powis, NHS medical director, said: "The NHS led the world in research identifying dexamethasone as the first treatment in the world for Covid-19 and this latest trial could help discover new treatments for the after-effects of Covid, helping to rapidly get world-leading therapies to our patients.

"Long Covid can have a significant impact on someone’s quality of life, which is exactly why in addition to funding research into the condition, the NHS has invested millions into opening dozens of dedicated clinics to help people get back to good health."

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