An Oxford great grandfather with lung disease who took part in a study aimed at keeping at-risk people with Covid symptoms out of hospital is urging others to volunteer.

Clive Robinson, 67, of Hinksey Park, took antibiotics for the study after experiencing breathing difficulties and a loss of taste, common symptoms of coronavirus, in July.

Now he is encouraging others with symptoms to apply to take part in the trial by registering online with Oxford University’s study or over the phone through 22 participating Oxfordshire GP practices.

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The great grandfather-of-nine said: “I felt awful, I couldn’t breathe, food just tasted like nothing. It was nasty. I thought I had Covid-19. I was worried that I’d end up having to go to hospital and it made me very depressed.”

The Platform Randomised trial of Interventions against Covid-19 in older people (PRINCIPLE) trial is testing existing treatments for older patients in the community with moderate symptoms or a positive test.

Oxford Mail:

Clive Robinson

Mr Robinson learned about the study through his GP the South Oxford Health Centre branch of St Bartholomew’s Medical Centre and was invited to take a Covid-19 test before taking part.

He tested negative but was still invited to join as tests are not accurate and those who test negative could still have the virus.

The trial is evaluating whether a short course of antibiotics azithromycin or doxycycline can reduce the severity of virus symptoms in vulnerable groups and avoid hospital admission.

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Mr Robinson was diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) in 2015, where the lungs become inflamed, damaged and narrowed, causing breathing problems.

The main cause is smoking, although it can be caused by genetics or long-term exposure to fumes or dust.

Mr Robinson smoked 40 cigarettes a day since he was 21, but cut down to 10 following his diagnosis.

He uses a wheelchair as he struggles to walk due to his breathing difficulties.

People with underlying health conditions such as this are at a higher risk of becoming severely ill with coronavirus.

Mr Robinson, a former supervisor at the John Radcliffe Hospital, said: “As I have severe COPD I’m at risk of infections, so I’ve been shielding and staying at home the whole time.

“I called my doctor, who suspected I had Covid-19 and he asked if I wanted to take part in a study. Straight away I said ‘yes, if it helps other people, then I’ll do it.’

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“I always try to take part in research because the researchers might learn something from me that will help somebody else.

“I know four people who have died of Covid-19. It’s very sad, especially as they were younger than me.”

He added: “I would 100 per cent recommend research. Everybody should consider taking part because it can help people all over the world.”

Register online and view GP practices taking part at or call 0800 138 0880.