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Coronavirus: UK drug trial for over-50s recruiting

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A trial of potential coronavirus drugs aimed at over-50s, who are vulnerable to developing serious symptoms, is looking to recruit more UK volunteers.

Over 500 GP surgeries are asking those with a new, continuous cough or high temperature to test existing drugs.

Patients aged over 65 or over 50 with an underlying health condition can fill out an online questionnaire at home to see whether they can be included.

Patients can also contact participating GPs to discuss their suitability.

The trial, led by a team at Oxford University, will compare with the current best available care a number of low-risk treatments recommended by an expert panel advising the chief medical officer for England, including:

  • a seven-day course of hydroxychloroquine, usually used for acute malaria or arthritis
  • the antibiotic azithromycin

The participants will still be able to take paracetamol to alleviate their symptoms.

And every day, for up to four weeks, they will be asked to answer some online questions about them.

Prof Fiona Watt, executive chair of the Medical Research Council, which is funding the trial, with the National Institute for Health Research, said: “We need more people to join the trial to see if we can identify a drug that helps prevent people reaching hospital and speeds up their recovery.”

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