Background for researchers


As part of UK pandemic influenza preparedness, the NIHR has funded the ASAP Trial – the first (and currently only) pandemic influenza clinical trial to be set up ahead of a pandemic. This trial is supported by the UKCRN Infectious Disease and Microbiology specialty group and the British Thoracic Society.

The ASAP trial is a pragmatic multicentre trial which will investigate the benefits of early, low-dose corticosteroid therapy (dexamethasone 6 mg [equivalent to prednisolone 40 mg] daily for 5 days) in adults admitted to hospital with pandemic influenza. The trial will be set-up with all the necessary approvals in place and then placed in ‘hibernation’, ready to be activated when the UK next encounters a pandemic.

An essential objective of the ASAP Trial is to provide results that will inform the management of patients within the same pandemic. This can only be achieved through the timely completion and reporting of the Trial following activation. As the impact of a pandemic on different regions in the UK cannot be predicted, it is planned for as many centres from as broad a coverage as possible to participate in the trial. 


The various challenges associated with conducting research during a public health crisis is recognised. The aim is to deliver a pragmatic trial that can be conducted with minimal interruption to clinical services during a pandemic. In support, CLRNs have already been alerted to prioritise and support all NIHR Pandemic Portfolio studies in the event of a pandemic – the ASAP Trial is the only trial in the portfolio.

The ASAP Trial is being co-ordinated by the Nottingham Clinical Trials Unit.

Contact Details

Clare Brittain
Trial Manager
Nottingham Clinical Trials Unit
0115 924 9924 Ext 70752

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