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Researchers at The University of Oxford have launched a study into the effectiveness of adalimumab as a treatment for COVID-19 patients in care homes.
The trial, conducted by researchers at the University of Oxford’s Clinical Trials Research Unit, will recruit up to 750 patients from community care settings across the UK starting in late October 2020.
It will be delivered under the Hospital at Home service, in which hospital teams deliver treatment in the community to avoid unnecessary admission.
As part of the trial, participants will be randomly assigned to either receive adalimumab, which is an anti-tumour necrosis factor (anti-TNF) drug commonly used to treat arthritis, or to receive standard care.
Those in the adalimumab group will either receive two or four injections of the drug, given during the same visit.
All patients will be visited by a member of the research team 7, 14 and 28 days after being allocated to a treatment group, with blood samples taken and oxygen levels measured.
A statement on the university’s website notes that “studies of patients with COVID-19 have shown that patients already taking anti-TNF drugs for inflammatory bowel disease and inflammatory arthritis are less likely to be admitted to hospital”.
“The same was not observed for patients taking other anti-inflammatory drugs,” it said.
Duncan Richards, professor of clinical therapeutics at the University of Oxford, said this “prompted us to conduct a study in patients in community care to see whether treatment with the anti-TNF drug adalimumab reduces the progression to severe or critical disease or death in COVID-19 patients.”
Dan Lasserson, professor of acute ambulatory care at the University of Warwick, who also works as a clinician in a Hospital at Home service for Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, added that the adalimumab trial “could not come at a more important time”.
“We need to determine the best treatments for COVID-19 that can be given to older people with frailty who are in care homes or living in their own homes,” he said.