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Team from Strathclyde involved in COVID-19 study for potential new treatment

Foil packets containing multi-coloured medicine capsules

University of Strathclyde researchers are assisting in a study to test a potential new COVID-19 treatment.

The Glasgow Early Treatment Arm Favipiravir (GETAFIX) study is researching the effects of the antiviral tablet Favipiravir on those in the early stages of the disease and whether it will help kill off the virus and prevent more serious complications.

The treatment, produced by Fujifilm Toyama Chemicals in Japan, can be taken at home and is intended for people with milder symptoms than those requiring hospital treatment.

It must be taken within four days of a positive swab test and researchers will assess the effectiveness of the drug to help with symptoms and reduce the time it takes to recover from COVID-19.

Blood samples

The Strathclyde team of Dr Ibrahim Khadra, Dr Nicholas Rattray and Dr Lina Akil from SIPBS and Professor Glenn Burley and Dr Andrea Taladriz-Sender from Pure & Applied Chemistry, have been involved in analysing blood samples of patients to check that they have been dosed with sufficient levels of the drug for it to be an effective treatment.

Dr Khadra said: “This is an important study that could help reduce the severity of the virus and allow people to recover in a shorter period of time."

The Chief Scientist Office funded research is being led by NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde and the University of Glasgow and is supported by the CR-UK Clinical Research Facility. Three hospitals, the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital, Glasgow Royal Infirmary and Royal Alexandra Hospital, are taking part, along with an outpatient facility for patients treated in the community

The antiviral treatment is taken in tablet form. Half the patients involved will receive the drug twice a day for 10 days alongside standard treatment, with the other half receiving standard treatment for comparison.

Volunteer call

The research team are now recruiting members of the public who have recently been diagnosed with COVID-19 and anyone who fits the criteria who would like to contribute to the research can find more information here. The treatment can be taken at home and is intended for people with milder symptoms than those requiring hospital treatment.

Prof Rob Jones, Director of the CRUK Clinical Trials Unit, Glasgow, and Chief Investigator of the study said: “If you have recently been diagnosed with COVID-19 and would like to contribute to ground breaking research, please get in touch. We are looking for people who have just recently been diagnosed with COVID-19 – within four days of a positive COVID-19 test result.

 “We are looking to see whether this antiviral treatment will help kill off the virus and prevent more serious complications.”

Dr Janet Scott (MRC-University of Glasgow Centre for Virus Research) said: “This drug is active against many viruses, it is used already for influenza in Japan. We are able to offer the trial not just to patients in hospital but also for home use. Our hope is that it will stop mild symptoms developing into serious ones.”