Dec 8: UMC Utrecht leads research into treatment of Long COVID

Dec 8: UMC Utrecht leads research into treatment of Long COVID

Dutch researchers, led by Prof. Marc Bonten and Prof. Janneke van de Wijgert of UMC Utrecht, are collaborating with researchers in several European countries (including the United Kingdom, Italy and Spain) to set up a study in which several drugs for Long COVID can be investigated simultaneously. Funding from Stichting Long COVID will allow this research to get off to an accelerated start.

In the Netherlands, hundreds of thousands of people have Long COVID. They often have severe symptoms for years and are unable to work. "Their situation is hopeless because there is no proven treatment for Long COVID. Patients are therefore desperately trying all kinds of drugs and therapies whose effects and safety are unknown. This is why we are trying to accelerate research into treatments. Marc Bonten's initiative is unique because of its international scope," said Ellen Bark-Lindhout, President of Stichting Long COVID.

"The speed with which a study can provide a reliable answer depends on the number of participants in the study and the size of the effect demonstrated: the larger the effect, the easier it is to demonstrate. Collaboration, national and international, is therefore necessary to reach an answer as quickly as possible," said Marc Bonten, professor of epidemiology of infectious diseases at UMC Utrecht and CEO of Ecraid, a Utrecht-based organization that initiates and coordinates international studies in the field of infectious diseases.

Existing drugs

Marc Bonten: "We will start with available drugs that we know are safe and easy to take in a home setting. Drugs that seem promising based on studies in acute COVID infection, but whose effect on the symptoms of patients with long COVID is still unknown. Promising agents include Metformin and Colchicine."

Metformin has been on the market for 50 years as an anti-diabetic drug, easy to use and with a lot of experience. A recent study found that treatment with Metformin reduced the risk of developing Long COVID by 40 percent compared with placebo. Colchicine is an oral anti-inflammatory drug that is beneficial in conditions such as gout. It may be effective against Long COVID symptoms because excessive inflammation probably plays a role here. Treatment with this medication can be done at home with online guidance. This is a great advantage for the seriously ill patients with Long COVID who are bed- or housebound.

Stichting Long COVID

The researchers have now started the administrative preliminary process of the study with funding from the Stichting Long COVID. This will allow patient invitations to begin as early as the first quarter of 2024.

Do you have questions about the study? Check out the Q&A (in Dutch) on the website of Stichting Long COVID. If you would like to support the study financially, go to their donation page.

Working at UMC Utrecht





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