Today (Nov. 27) begins a new study of asthma and COPD treatment with inhaled corticosteroid budesonide for Covid-19.
The study is part of the national priority platform study, PRINCIPLE, which is evaluating Covid-19 treatments that can be taken at home by people 50 or older to speed recovery and avoid hospitalization.
Led by the University of Oxford, the pilot platform has so far recruited more than 2,100 volunteers from across the UK.
Inhaled budesonide is often prescribed as part of the long-term treatment of asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and has no serious side effects associated with short-term use.
The trial will look at the drug’s potential to treat high levels of inflammation in the airways and lungs in some Covid-19 patients caused when the body builds a significant immune response to fight the virus. This inflammation is harmful to human cells, and inhalation of budesonide into the airways is expected to minimize any lung damage that would otherwise be caused by the virus.
Patients participating in the study will be randomly assigned to receive an inhaler in the mail and their physician’s usual standard of care.
The trial is open to people over 50 with certain underlying health conditions, or anyone over 65 from across the UK.
“Budesonide is a relatively inexpensive, safe and easy to administer medicine for respiratory diseases that may play a role in the treatment of Covid-19. Only by enrolling volunteers in a randomized controlled trial such as PRINCIPLE can we assess whether there are clear benefits or drawbacks associated with potential treatments such as budesonide, ” said Professor Chris Butler of the Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences, Lead Expert of the PRINCIPLE trial.
“We need a lot more volunteers to join the study so we can get the answers we really need to keep people with Covid-19 out of the hospital. Like vaccines and preventive measures, treatments play an important role in minimizing the burden of this disease on society. “
Those with coronavirus symptoms or a positive test result can join the scheme from home, over the phone or through their GP practice anywhere in the UK.
The other treatments currently being evaluated in the PRINCIPLE trial are doxycycline and azithromycin, both commonly prescribed antibiotics believed to have additional anti-inflammatory properties.
The trial is supported by an extensive network of health and care professionals in nursing homes, pharmacies, NHS 111 Hubs, hospitals and more than 1,000 GP practices in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.