Researchers at East Kent Hospitals are investigating whether a popular herbal remedy could be an effective treatment in the fight against Covid-19.
The team are the first in the country to trial the use of Sambucol Black Elderberry liquid – available in many health food shops – in patients who are being treated for coronavirus.
They proposed the study after hearing about previous research which showed black elderberry fruit or extracts had antiviral properties against flu and a type of herpes. It has been adopted by the National Institute for Health Research.
Jessica Evans, director of research and innovation at the Trust, said: “We are all very excited to have been given approval to start this trial, which could have huge implications for the treatment of coronavirus.
“A previous study with flu patients showed people who took the extract had significant improvements in their symptoms within two days, compared to six days for those who did not.
“We will be testing whether there are similar effects in people in the community who have tested positive for Covid-19 and are experiencing symptoms, to see if the severity and length of time can be reduced.”
The study began earlier this month and the team hopes to recruit more than 200 patients to the trial. They will either receive the black elderberry liquid or a placebo, and will then be monitored to see if there is any reduction in their symptoms.