Long Covid drug trial underway in Oxford but long waiting lists at the south's post-covid clinics

  • Video report from ITV News Meridian's Richard Slee

Now Covid restrictions have been removed, people are no longer legally required to self-isolate if they test positive for Covid.

It is a worrying time for those who are vulnerable or for those living with Long Covid. But there is some hope that a new drug being trialed in Oxford could be an effective treatment.

Researchers at Oxford University, based at the John Radcliffe Hospital, are pioneers in the search for an effective treatment and are currently working with 40 patients on a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled investigation to evaluate the efficacy and safety of the drug called AXA1125.

40 patients are taking part in a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled investigation. Credit: ITV News Meridian

Dr Betty Raman, Lead Researcher, said: "This drug is a mixture of five amino acids or derivative which act as fuels for mitrochondria which are batteries, powerhouse within the cells which are required for energy"

"And we're going to use sophisticated technology as well as measures of fatigue to see how effective the drug is over time".

The most common Long Covid symptoms:

  • Fatigue

  • Breathlessness

  • Brain Fog

One of the patients taking part is Claire Higham from Reading who has been suffering the effects of long covid for more than one year.

Most days the mother of two she spends 20 hours in bed, which puts a lot of pressure on her home life.

  • Claire Higham, trial patient

She is a patient on the trial, and said: "It's an opportunity to get some diagnostics and some testing done and an opportunity to try a treatment as well because there is very limited cases or opportunities to have any form of treatment for Long Covid".

The Oxford trial comes as there is increasing evidence that local long covid clinics are struggling with long waiting lists.

In Dorset some people are having to wait a year to be referred. It's estimated that 1.3 million people are living with the effects of Long Covid.

Peter said the virus made him feel like he was 'possessed'. Credit: ITV News Meridian

Peter Longhorn, from Dorset, is living with the condition, and is pleading for more people to get vaccinated.

He said: "Today I feel very sad, at people who don't want the Covid jab"

"I feel that they should go into the hospital, maybe the hospital where I was suffering with Covid and look at the affects of Covid on people's lives".

The results of the Oxford trial are expected in the early summer, but researchers are being careful not to raise hopes too high.

For now, health experts say the best treatment is still for people to be vaccinated.