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University of Cambridge Covid-19 clinical trial aims to reduce spread among immunocompromised groups

A clinical trial designed to find treatments that could help prevent more vulnerable patients from catching Covid-19 has begun in Cambridge.

The 12-month PROTECT-V trial, run by the University of Cambridge, will explore the effectiveness of treatments at reducing the spread of the virus among kidney patients and immunocompromised groups.

New clinical trials will aim to help immunocompromised patients from catching Covid-19
New clinical trials will aim to help immunocompromised patients from catching Covid-19

There are at least half a million people who could benefit in England alone and 2,250 are expected to take part in the clinical trial, which has been given £1.5million of government funding.

Dr Rona Smith, senior research associate for the trial at the university, said: “The PROTECT-V trial is a platform designed to test drugs that may prevent Covid-19 infection in vulnerable patients with kidney disease, either on dialysis, who have a kidney transplant or are receiving immunosuppression.

“Covid-19 has had a huge impact on the lives of these patients. The rapid roll out of vaccination has been very welcome news, but it is unclear if these patients will mount as strong responses to the vaccine as healthy individuals. This trial will test if drugs may offer additional protection over and above the vaccine in vulnerable individuals and prevent them becoming unwell with Covid-19 infection.”

A further trial – PROTECT-CH – run by the University of Nottingham, has £1.7m of government funding. It will look at treatments for reducing transmission and serious illness from the virus for residents and staff of care homes. The two-year trial begins in May and aims to recruit more than 400 care homes, covering approximately 12,000 elderly residents.

Prof Chris Whitty, England’s chief medical officer for England and co-lead for the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), which funded the trials, said: “The more proven clinical tools we can use to protect these very vulnerable groups the better, so I encourage as many eligible individuals, care home operators and residents to take part in these studies.”

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