Irish Covid-19 patients to be recruited for international clinical trials

More than 5,000 patients recruited to date across 35 countries to evaluate potential new treatments for virus

The trial will examine the efficacy and safety of a number of anti-viral, anti-malarial and anti-inflammatory drugs that have been put forward as potential treatments for Covid-19.

The trial will examine the efficacy and safety of a number of anti-viral, anti-malarial and anti-inflammatory drugs that have been put forward as potential treatments for Covid-19.

 

Irish patients with Covid-19 are to be recruited for international clinical trials of potential new treatments from next week, after the Government formally signed up to a World Health Organisation research collaboration.

After signing an agreement on behalf of the Government on Friday to enable Ireland’s participation in the WHO Covid-19 Solidarity trial, Minister for Health Simon Harris announced €2.4 million in funding to support hospitals recruiting patients for the trial.

The trial, an international collaboration between the WHO and member states to evaluate potential treatments for the virus, has recruited over 5,000 patients to date across 35 countries. Another 100 countries are awaiting approval to participate in the trial.

In Ireland, recruitment is to start at hospitals around the country within days, according to the Department of Health.

The trial will examine the efficacy and safety of a number of anti-viral, anti-malarial and anti-inflammatory drugs that have been put forward as potential treatments for Covid-19.

Mr Harris said he was delighted Ireland was playing its part in the global response to the crisis “in solidarity with out international partners”.

“There are still no proven treatments for Covid-19 and it is really important that any potential treatments are prescribed within the context of clinical trials where patients provide consent and everything is controlled and monitored.”

While acknowledging the number of patients with the disease in hospital is much reduced now, he said the trial would offer hope for those patients currently in hospital.

“In addition, while it is impossible to predict the future shape of the pandemic, we cannot be complacent and this trial is a key element in our national preparedness for the risk of a further outbreak or a second wave. Successful treatments will decrease the impact of Covid-19 on patients and on Irish society, and the potential need for future lockdowns”.

The trial is being coordinated by the Health Research Board and supported by University College Cork, where lead investigator Prof Joe Eustace said the six main university-based clinical research facilities and affiliated hospitals will all be involved.

“The trial may allow us to identify treatments that will reduce the severity of the infection, decease the need for ITU (intensive treatment unit) care and reduce the infection’s mortality rate.”