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National trial to rapidly find treatments for severe flu this winter launched in UK

REMAP-CAP will test multiple treatments at the same time in thousands of people

Study

A national trial aiming to use ‘pandemic lessons’ to quickly find effective treatments for patients hospitalised with severe flu has been launched in the UK.

The REMAP-CAP trial, run by researchers and clinicians from Imperial College London and Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust in collaboration with other national experts, was originally set up to tackle pandemics and provide answers quickly by using a rapid approach to test multiple treatments at the same time in thousands of people.

The £2.9m trial will work with the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR), which is funding the trial, to recruit adults, children and babies over one month old who are hospitalised with severe flu from 150 hospitals across the UK over the next two years.

Multiple treatments will be tested in the trial, including the anti-viral treatments Tamiflu (oseltamivir) and baloxavir, as well as steroids and anti-inflammatory drugs found to be effective against COVID-19 in the original REMAP-CAP trial.

Unlike other trials, which usually test individual treatments for a set amount of time, the new trial – known as an adaptive platform trial – continues as new treatments are added.

Any treatments found not to work will be removed and the trial will also test the treatments alone, in combination, and for different durations to find the best way to treat flu.

“Using this approach, we can bring in new treatments and test them thoroughly against one another without having to stop and start trials. Typically, you’d need a new trial for every treatment, which takes time. Instead, this type of trial keeps research rolling,” explained Professor Anthony Gordon, chief investigator of the new trial, from Imperial College London’s Department of Surgery and Cancer and consultant in Intensive Care Medicine at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust.

The launch of the trial comes as reports suggest there may be record numbers of flu cases this winter, and there is no clear evidence about which treatments are best for severe cases. Although many people with flu get better on their own without needing hospital treatment, it can be life-threatening for some.

Gordon said: “This winter, we might see more flu cases than usual as the virus potentially resurges after pandemic measures have kept levels low. We hope that our trial will help to find urgently needed flu treatments rapidly.

“Our COVID-19 trial changed clinical practice globally, and we hope we can impact flu treatment and reduce winter pressures on the NHS in the same way.”

Article by
Emily Kimber

29th November 2022

From: Research

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