Ashford and St Peter’s Hospitals’ in collaboration with researchers in China, and with funding from LifeArc, is set to commence a clinical trial of using Leflunomide, a drug licensed to treat rheumatoid arthritis – in hospitalised COVID-19 patients.
Dr David Fluck, Medical Director at Ashford and St Peter’s Hospitals’, said:
“The global COVID-19 pandemic has put immense pressure on clinicians and scientists to have new treatments readily available for patients. I am immensely proud of our team for their pioneering contribution to designing this study and procuring the funding to execute it from within our Trust.”
Leflunomide has previously been investigated in a small pilot study conducted in Wuhan, China. Patients with severe clinical symptoms of COVID-19 who were treated with Leflunomide demonstrated favourable clinical outcomes with a shorter recovery time compared to the placebo arm. The study now aims to explore these initial findings in a larger patient cohort.
"Research is the cornerstone of combatting Covid-19 and I’m delighted that Ashford and St Peter’s hospitals have been awarded funding to conduct this ground breaking trial. UK science and research has been at the forefront in the fight against this disease, and hospitals that conduct research have much better outcomes for their patients.
I wish to offer my sincere thanks to all those at Ashford and St Peters' who are doing remarkable work not only looking after their patients through these difficult times, but also making a leading contribution to the global effort." - Dr Ben Spencer MP
The trial is designed according to the World Health Organisation’s overall blueprint trial design document taking into consideration the rapidly changing landscape of COVID-19 epidemic and treatment priorities.