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Cardiff University to take leading role in COVID-19 antiviral trial

27 October 2021

Cardiff University is to play a major role in UK-wide research into antiviral drugs that could help protect people from the worst symptoms of the virus.

The University is working with Health and Care Research Wales and the Welsh Government to support the study, led by the University of Oxford.

Researchers at Oxford have been awarded funding by the National Institute for Health Research to carry out the work with colleagues at several UK universities, including Cardiff, and the NHS.

The PANORAMIC trial (Platform adaptive trial of novel antivirals for early treatment of COVID-19 in the community) will be the first clinical trial of its kind to test novel antiviral COVID-19 treatments for use early in the illness by people with COVID-19 in the community and who are at higher risk of complications.

The Cardiff University team working on this are from the Centre for Trials Research (CTR) and the Division of Population Medicine, representing a strong collaboration between clinical trials and primary care, led by Professor Kerry Hood and Dr Andrew Carson-Stevens.

Professor Hood, Director of the CTR, who is leading the trial in Wales, said: “This is a really important study to drive the way in which we manage and treat COVID-19 in the community. Our involvement builds on a strong tradition in Wales of designing and delivering important and impactful primary care research.”

The trial’s Chief Investigator, Professor Chris Butler, from the Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences and a GP in South Wales, said: “It is early on in the illness, when people are still being cared for in the community, that treatments for COVID-19 could have their greatest benefit. So far, a lot of the research has focussed on finding out if well-known drugs can be repurposed to treat COVID-19.

“This new trial will test whether exciting, new antiviral treatments that are more specific to COVID-19 help people in the community recover faster and reduce the need for treatment in hospital.”

Professor Hood will also be leading an evaluation within the study on the effectiveness of offering treatment to household contacts of people with COVID-19 to see if is reduces their chances of getting the virus.

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