Giving the World a Fighting Chance

The COVID virus

University statisticians lead development of treatments for COVID-19

Drawing on sustained research into the design of adaptive clinical trials, statisticians from Lancaster’s Mathematics and Statistics department have played a pivotal role in identifying the effectiveness of treatments to save lives and mitigate the harmful effects of COVID-19 at a national and global scale.

Developments by Lancaster University's medical statisticians have been central to the design and ongoing adaptation of the world-leading RECOVERY clinical trial and AGILE trial platform. Our novel statistical methods were chosen as they enable extremely rapid and more accurate decision-making, resulting in faster development of treatments, plus savings in development costs. These features are critically important in a pandemic.
The impact of the underpinning research into Multi-Arm Multi-Stage (MAMS) and sequential dose-finding trials has already included these major clinical breakthroughs:

  • Discovery of the first effective treatment. Estimated to have saved over 22,000 lives in the UK and 1 million globally by March 2021.
  • Rapid identification of ineffective treatments, enabling health services across the globe to focus resource on more effective treatments.
  • Identification of safe and correct dosages for novel treatments which can rapidly progress to later phase trials to test efficacy in frontline services.
  • Bringing about changes to policy and published guidance from national and global bodies.