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Thank you for your interest in the RECOVERY Trial. This trial is recruiting people who have been admitted to hospital with suspected or confirmed COVID-19. We hope the video and Frequently Asked Questions on this page address any questions you might have.

Your doctors have found, or suspect, that you have a lung disease called COVID-19. This condition is caused by a type of virus called SARS-CoV-2, or coronavirus for short.

About 19 out of 20 patients who get coronavirus get better without coming to hospital. Of those who are admitted to hospital, most also get better, but some may need oxygen or mechanical ventilation before they do so. However, a few percent do not get better.

This trial showed that dexamethasone (a type of steroid) reduces the risk of dying for some patients hospitalised with COVID-19. There are no drugs of proven value against COVID-19 although there are several others which may turn out to be helpful (or possibly harmful) when added to the usual standard of care. This study aims to find out whether any of these additional treatments are of any help. 


This study aims to compare several different treatments that may be useful for patients with COVID-19. These treatments have been recommended for testing by the expert panel that advises the Chief Medical Officer in England. Some are tablets and some are injections. Although these treatments show promise, nobody knows if any of them will turn out to be more effective in helping patients recover than the usual standard of care at your hospital (which all patients will receive).

The treatment, which may be given in addition to the usual care at your hospital, is: Azithromycin (a commonly-used antibiotic).

You may also receive convalescent plasma (the liquid part of blood which carries blood cells around the body) which has been collected from individuals who have recovered from COVID-19 infection and contains antibodies to the virus that may help you fight the virus. For patients whose condition is more severe, tocilizumab (a treatment for rheumatoid arthritis) is also an option. At present, we don’t know whether any of these are effective in treating COVID-19. However, the side-effects are well-known from other uses and your doctor will be able to monitor you appropriately.



The study is being conducted by researchers at the University of Oxford, which acts as the sponsor for the research, working with doctors at many hospitals across the UK.


Patients may be included in this study if they have COVID-19 confirmed by a laboratory test for coronavirus (or considered likely by their doctors), and are in hospital. Patients will not be included if the attending doctor thinks there is a particular reason why none of the study treatments are suitable.


If you decide to join, you will be asked to sign the consent form. Next, brief details identifying you and answering a few questions about your health and medical conditions will be entered into a computer. If you are willing to have convalescent plasma you may need 1 or 2 extra blood tests (to check your blood group), in line with standard NHS procedures. In addition, another sample will be sent to a central laboratory for measurement of coronavirus and antibodies against it. The results will not be available to your medical team and the sample will be destroyed once testing is complete. The computer will then allocate you at random (like rolling a dice) to one of the possible treatment options. In all cases this will include the usual standard of care for your hospital. It may also include an additional treatment, which might be given by mouth or injection. Neither you nor your doctors can choose which of these options you will be allocated. If your condition is severe or should deteriorate, then your doctors may choose to enter you into a second phase in which the computer will allocate you at random again to one of the further possible treatment options (in addition to your previous study treatment and always including usual standard of care for your hospital).

Additional information about your health will be recorded and entered into the study computer but no additional visits will be required after you leave the hospital. In some instances, information about your health (both prior to, during, and after the study) may be obtained about you from medical records or databases (including NHS Digital, Public Health England, other equivalent bodies, and genetic or other research databases if you have provided samples to them) so that the study team can get more detailed or longer term information about the effects of the study treatments on your health for up to 10 years after the end of your participation.


We do not know if any of the treatments being tested will have additional benefits. Your study treatment may or may not help you personally, but this study should help future patients.


Apart from the known side effects of these treatments (which may include tummy upset and blood test abnormalities), there is the unlikely possibility of a severe reaction to a study drug. Although Tocilizumab has been very rarely associated with liver damage in prolonged use this is not expected to be a problem with the short-term administration in this study. The potential side effects of plasma transfusions include allergic reactions (rash, fever, chills) and increased difficulty breathing and are easily treated. The plasma will undergo all the usual testing for the presence of other infections, but a very small risk of infection transmission does remain. Please ask your hospital doctor if you would like more information. Once you have been included in the study, you and your doctors will know which treatment the computer has allocated for you. Your doctors will be aware of whether there are any particular side effects that they should look out for. Women who are pregnant may be included, however, the effect of some of the treatments on unborn babies is uncertain - although all the treatments have previously been used in pregnancy for other medical conditions without safety concerns being raised. If you do receive treatment and are not already pregnant, as a precaution, we advise that you should not get pregnant within 3 months of the completion of the trial treatment(s).


If you or your doctor want to stop the study treatment before the course has been completed, then you are free to do so. If you decide that you do not wish any more information to be collected about you, you are free to say so (although de-identified information that has been collected up to that point will continue to be analysed by the research team).


If you have any questions please speak to your hospital medical team. Further information about the study will also be available on the study website (


All information about you and your health will be kept private. The only people allowed to look at the information will be the doctors who are running the study, the staff at the study coordinating centre, and the regulatory authorities who check that the study is being carried out correctly. A privacy notice is on the study website.


Joining the study is voluntary. Your decision whether to take part will not affect the care you receive at this hospital.


All trial treatments will be free. Neither you nor your medical staff will be paid for your participation in this study.


The study is funded by UK Research and Innovation and the National Institute for Health Research, not the makers of any of the study treatments. If we find out any new information that might affect your decision to stay in the study, we will give it to you.

The University of Oxford, as Sponsor, has appropriate insurance in place in the unlikely event that you suffer any harm as a direct consequence of your participation in this study. NHS indemnity operates in respect of the clinical treatment that is provided.


Who is responsible for your data?

The data controller for this trial is the Sponsoring organisation, University of Oxford.

Personal data we collect about you

Staff within the NHS, will collect information from you and your medical records for this research. The Central Coordinating Office based in the Nuffield Department of Population Health, University of Oxford will use your name, address, NHS number (or CHI number in Scotland) and contact details to contact you about the research study, and make sure that relevant information about the study is recorded for your care, and to oversee the quality of the study. In addition to this, we will seek information from Health Registries or NHS bodies such as NHS Digital about care provided during your admission with Covid-19 (e.g. duration of admission, ventilation) your long-term health status (e.g. reasons for any future hospital admissions). To do this, we will provide your details to the Health Registry or NHS bodies to conduct the ‘data linkage’ but this will be done in a secure and confidential manner. The information received from the Health Registry or NHS bodies will be imported into a database held securely by the University of Oxford and used solely for academic research purposes.

Depending on the intervention allocated as part of the trial, identifiable personal data may also need to be shared with other NHS organisations, such as NHS Blood & Transplantto ensure the appropriate type of treatment is provided. This will also be done using secure means. NHS Blood & Transplant have a privacy notice available at

Individuals from the Sponsoring Organisation and regulatory organisations may look at your medical and research records to check the accuracy of the research data. The only people at the Sponsor who will have access to information that identifies you will be people involved in the processes of contacting you, carrying out the study follow-up, sending you a copy of the results or auditing the data collection process. The people who analyse the information will not be able to identify you and will not be able to find out your name, address, NHS number or your contact details.

How we use your personal data

As a publicly funded organisation, we have to ensure that it is in the public interest when we use personally identifiable information from people who have agreed to take part in research.This provides the legal basis for our use of your data; GDPR Article 6(1)(e). This means that when you agree to take part in a research study, we will use your data in the ways needed to conduct and analyse the research study. Health and care research should serve the public interest, which means that we have to demonstrate that our research serves the interests of society as a whole. To ensure we carry out the research to the highest standards we comply with the Clinical Trials Regulation 536/2014 and the UK Policy Framework for Health and Social Care Research.

How long we keep your data

The Sponsor will keep identifiable information about you for up to one year after the study has finished, unless you are under 18 in which case we have to keep it until you are 21 because of the statute of limitations. Your personal data will be retained for at least 25 years after the end of the study, in line with relevant legislation. Since the study will continue long-term follow up for 10 years after the initial treatment phase to assess the long-term effects of the treatments being tested, your data will be stored until at least 2055. 

At the end of this retention period, your personal data will either be deleted or rendered anonymous (non-identifiable).  

We may need to retain personal data for longer if it is necessary to fulfil our purposes, including any relating to legal, accounting, or reporting requirements. We may also retain personal data for further research for which a legal basis exists. This will always be done in accordance with data protection laws.  

General information about how long different types of information are retained by the University can be found in the University’s Policy on the Management of Research Data and Records, available via

How we protect your data

We protect your personal data against unauthorised access, unlawful use, accidental loss, corruption or destruction.

We use technical measures such as encryption and password protection to protect your data and the systems they are held in. We also use operational measures to protect the data, for example by limiting the number of people who have access to the databases in which your data is held and using unique reference numbers to identify participants rather than names wherever possible.

We keep these security measures under review and refer to University Security Policies to keep up to date with current good practice.

Sharing your data

Your personal data which are collected and managed by the Sponsor will be used only to allow us to carry out the follow-up of this trial, including linkage with Health Registries or NHS bodies such as NHS Digital. Data from which you cannot be identified may be shared with other research groups who are doing similar research (including the University of Bristol, who are assisting the trial by providing an independent analysis of the trial database, as well as commercial companies and transfer outside the EU). This ‘de-identified’information will not identify you and will not be combined with other information in a way that could identify you. The information will only be used for the purpose of health and care research, and cannot be used to contact you or to affect your care. It will not be used to make decisions about future services available to you, such as insurance.

Your rights

Under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which came into effect on 25 May 2018, you have the following rights in relation to the information that we hold about you (your ‘personal data’):

  • The right to request access to your data (commonly known as a "subject access request"). This enables you to receive a copy of your data and to check that we are lawfully processing it.
  • The right to request correction of your data. This enables you to ask us to correct any incomplete or inaccurate information we hold about you.
  • The right to request erasure of your dataThis enables you to ask us to delete or remove your data in certain circumstances for example, if you consider that there is no good reason for us continuing to process it. You also have the right to ask us to delete or remove your data where you have exercised your right to object to processing (see below).
  • The right to object to the processing of your data, where we are processing it to meet our public tasks or legitimate interests (or the legitimate interests of a third party) and there is something about your particular situation which makes you want to object to processing on this ground. You also have the right to object where we are processing your data for direct marketing purposes.
  • The right to request that the processing of your data is restricted.This enables you to ask us to suspend the processing of your data, for example, if you want us to establish its accuracy or the reason for processing it.

If you wish to exercise any of these rights, please contact the trial at 

Request the transfer of your data to another party

Your rights to access, change or move your information are limited, as we need to manage your information in specific ways in order for the research to be reliable and accurate. If you withdraw from the study, we will keep the information about you that we have already obtained. To safeguard your rights,we will use the minimum personally-identifiable information possible. For further information, see:


If you wish to raise a complaint on how we have handled your personal data, you can contact our Data Protection Officer, will investigate the matter. If you are not satisfied with our response or believe we are processing your personal data in a way that is not lawful you can complain to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) by visiting  or by calling their helpline on 0303 1231113. 

Contact us

If you would like to contact us directly for more information about how we process and protect data collected for research, please email:


Information for participants

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