On the second anniversary of its official launch, the Randomised Evaluation of COVID-19 Therapy (RECOVERY) remains an exceptional study that is leading the global fight against COVID-19. The study is continuing to adapt to the changing dynamics of the pandemic, adding new promising candidate treatments, and launching in new countries with different population and healthcare systems.
It is likely that the true impact of RECOVERY can never be fully measured. But through discovering four treatments that effectively reduce deaths from COVID-19, it is certain that the study has saved thousands – if not millions – of lives worldwide. Crucially, low- and middle-income countries have shared these benefits, particularly since dexamethasone is inexpensive, easily administered and readily available in most hospitals.
The numbers are impressive, but each RECOVERY Trial participant has their own unique story, with many showing immense courage and altruism during one of the most difficult and frightening times of their life.
But the RECOVERY Trial’s impacts go far beyond saving lives and improving treatment of COVID-19 patients. Through pioneering a simplified, streamlined approach to running clinical trials, RECOVERY has redefined the speed at which life-saving results can be delivered. Through integrating into routine care within NHS hospitals, RECOVERY has also shown the power of engaging front-line clinicians in research.
For the wider public, the extensive media coverage of the study’s impacts has helped to increase awareness of the importance of clinical trial research, and the need for volunteers to take part in these. Meanwhile, beyond the UK it is hoped that the hospital sites participating in RECOVERY International will benefit from a long-term increased capacity for leading randomised controlled studies.