Festive road sign with cold and flu on it

UK trials to identify best flu fighting drugs

As the seasonal flu cases ravage the UK, Covid scientists are currently turning their attention to combatting this issue through finding the requisite life-saving drugs that can help to fight the winter virus.

Across 150 hospitals this yea and next, a trial will be running to recruit thousands of patients to find the best alternatives to help very sick patients who have already had the vaccine. Antiviral tablets – often given to patients within days of symptoms developing – are designed to reduce the severity of these bad infections.

One of the pills that will be tested by the Imperial College London team is oseltamivir, or Tamiflu, which has been stockpiled since the concerns about swine flu. Whilst it is recommended for the treatment of severe flu, it is still currently unknown as to whether it can actually save lives.

This Randomised, Embedded, Multi-factorial, Adaptive Platform Trial for Community-Acquired Pneumonia (Remap-Cap) is being funded through the National Institute for Health and Care Research.

Upon culmination of this trial, it is hoped that healthcare professionals will have a clearer understanding of how good the treatments are at reducing deaths and intensive care admissions.

Minister for Health and Secondary Care Will Quince said:

"This innovative trial will use the lessons we learned from Covid and deliver treatments to reduce serious illness in patients with flu, ease pressure on the NHS and ultimately save lives.

"While this trial aims to prevent illnesses for future flu seasons, we are now seeing increased levels of flu this year and it is vital that all those eligible for a free vaccine come forward as soon as possible."

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