Azithromycin in patients admitted to hospital with COVID-19 (RECOVERY): a randomised, controlled, open-label, platform trial

Eugenia Abaleke, Mustafa Abbas, Sadia Abbasi, Alfie Abbott, Ashraf Abdelaziz, Sherif Abdelbadiee, Mohamed Abdelfattah, Basir Abdul, Althaf Abdul Rasheed, Rezan Abdul-Kadir, Abdulfatahi Abdulmumeen, Niyaz Abdulshukkoor, Kula Abdusamad, Yazeed Abed El Khaleq, Mai Abedalla, Abeer UA Abeer Ul Amna, Adebanke Aboaba, Hani Abo-Leyah, Ahmed Abou-Haggar, Mahmoud AbouibrahimMiriam Abraham, Tizzy Abraham, Abraheem Abraheem, Judith Abrams, Hyacinth John Abu, Ahmad Abu-Arafeh, Syed M. Abubacker, Akata Abung, Yaa Aceampong, Devikumar Acharya, Janet Acheson, Andres Acosta, Catherine Acton, Jacqueline Adabie-Ankrah, Fiona Adam, Matthew Adam, Huzaifa Adamali, Carol Adams, Kate Adams, Richard Adams, Tim Adams, Malgorzata Adamus, Kirsty Adcock, Aderonke Adebiyi, Ken Adegoke, Vicki Adell, Aldrin Adeni, Sherna Adenwalla, Oluwasegun A. Adesemoye, Pauline Lambert, RECOVERY Collaborative Group

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

193 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Azithromycin has been proposed as a treatment for COVID-19 on the basis of its immunomodulatory actions. We aimed to evaluate the safety and efficacy of azithromycin in patients admitted to hospital with COVID-19. Methods: In this randomised, controlled, open-label, adaptive platform trial (Randomised Evaluation of COVID-19 Therapy [RECOVERY]), several possible treatments were compared with usual care in patients admitted to hospital with COVID-19 in the UK. The trial is underway at 176 hospitals in the UK. Eligible and consenting patients were randomly allocated to either usual standard of care alone or usual standard of care plus azithromycin 500 mg once per day by mouth or intravenously for 10 days or until discharge (or allocation to one of the other RECOVERY treatment groups). Patients were assigned via web-based simple (unstratified) randomisation with allocation concealment and were twice as likely to be randomly assigned to usual care than to any of the active treatment groups. Participants and local study staff were not masked to the allocated treatment, but all others involved in the trial were masked to the outcome data during the trial. The primary outcome was 28-day all-cause mortality, assessed in the intention-to-treat population. The trial is registered with ISRCTN, 50189673, and, NCT04381936. Findings: Between April 7 and Nov 27, 2020, of 16 442 patients enrolled in the RECOVERY trial, 9433 (57%) were eligible and 7763 were included in the assessment of azithromycin. The mean age of these study participants was 65·3 years (SD 15·7) and approximately a third were women (2944 [38%] of 7763). 2582 patients were randomly allocated to receive azithromycin and 5181 patients were randomly allocated to usual care alone. Overall, 561 (22%) patients allocated to azithromycin and 1162 (22%) patients allocated to usual care died within 28 days (rate ratio 0·97, 95% CI 0·87–1·07; p=0·50). No significant difference was seen in duration of hospital stay (median 10 days [IQR 5 to >28] vs 11 days [5 to >28]) or the proportion of patients discharged from hospital alive within 28 days (rate ratio 1·04, 95% CI 0·98–1·10; p=0·19). Among those not on invasive mechanical ventilation at baseline, no significant difference was seen in the proportion meeting the composite endpoint of invasive mechanical ventilation or death (risk ratio 0·95, 95% CI 0·87–1·03; p=0·24). Interpretation: In patients admitted to hospital with COVID-19, azithromycin did not improve survival or other prespecified clinical outcomes. Azithromycin use in patients admitted to hospital with COVID-19 should be restricted to patients in whom there is a clear antimicrobial indication. Funding: UK Research and Innovation (Medical Research Council) and National Institute of Health Research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)605-612
Number of pages8
JournalThe Lancet
Issue number10274
Publication statusPublished - 13 Feb 2021


Dive into the research topics of 'Azithromycin in patients admitted to hospital with COVID-19 (RECOVERY): a randomised, controlled, open-label, platform trial'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this