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New trial tests potential treatments for Long COVID

Millions of people across Europe suffer from Long COVID symptoms that render many unable to work for years. Ecraid and UMC Utrecht are collaborating on an adaptive platform trial that will evaluate potential treatments. The RECLAIM trial will soon begin enrolling patients in the Netherlands, with more countries to follow.


Though robust data on the prevalence of Long COVID is limited, researchers have found that 2.8% of the total population of the United Kingdom suffers from self-reported Long COVID symptoms. Extrapolated to Europe, this leaves more than 20 million people with what can be a life-changing illness, sometimes for years. Yet there are no clinically supported treatments for Long COVID.

This is why Ecraid and the Dutch University Medical Center Utrecht (UMC Utrecht) are collaborating on a new adaptive platform trial that aims to evaluate the efficacy and safety of potential treatments for Long COVID symptoms. Participation in the RECLAIM trial will be fully remote, with patient enrolment planned for as early as the first half of 2024. 

Learn more about the trial here (in Dutch).

Potential treatments

One of the advantages of adaptive platform trials over traditional research designs is the ability to evaluate multiple treatments simultaneously. This is precisely what the study team aims for. UMC Utrecht professor and RECLAIM co-lead, Janneke van de Wijgert, talks about the first treatments that will be tested in the trial: 

“We will start with already available treatments which we know to be safe and can be easily taken at home. These are drugs that appear promising based on studies on acute COVID infection, but whose effect on Long COVID symptoms has not yet been investigated. Such drugs include metformin and colchicine.”

Metformin has been on the market for 50 years as a remedy for diabetes. It is easy and safe to use. A recent study found that treatment with metformin reduced the risk of developing Long COVID by 40% compared to placebo.

Colchicine is an oral anti-inflammatory drug that is beneficial for gout, for example. It may be effective against Long COVID complaints because an excessive inflammatory response probably plays a role. Treatment with this medication can take place at home with online guidance. This is a great advantage for seriously ill Long COVID patients who are bed- and house-bound.

Going international

While initially the trial will only be enrolling patients in the Netherlands, it is hoped that hospitals in other European countries will be brought on board. Ecraid CEO and professor at UMC Utrecht, Marc Bonten, explains the need for this cross-country collaboration: 

“The speed at which a study can provide a reliable answer depends on the number of participants in the study and the size of the demonstrated effect. The more participants, the easier it is to capture the effect. Collaboration, national and international, is therefore necessary to arrive at an answer as quickly as possible.”


The researchers have already started the preliminary administrative phase of the research with funding from the Long COVID Foundation, a Dutch non-profit organisation promoting and funding research focused on Long COVID.

Funding for the next phases of the trial is provided by ZonMV through the recently launched Post-COVID Expertise Network Netherlands. This network is committed to research on the nature, treatments, and prevention of Long COVID symptoms.