A Phase 3 multi-centre study to assess the efficacy and safety of ruxolitinib on Cytokine Release Syndrome (CRS) in patients with COVID-19 (RUXCOVID)

Type: Interventional

Site and lead:

  • Manchester Royal Infirmary: Dr Ben Parker
  • Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital: Dr Stephen Hughes

Patient group: COVID-19 patients in hospital aged 12+


  • Ruxolitinib

Funder: Novartis

Sponsor: Novartis

More about RUXCOVID

  • RUXCOVID is a nationally-prioritised COVID-19 study. See the full list Urgent Public Health COVID-19 Studies on the NIHR website

The purpose of this study is to evaluate the efficacy and safety of ruxolitinib in the treatment of patients with pneumonia brought on by COVID-19.

Ruxolitinib is a licenced drug that is already used in the UK to treat some forms of blood cancer and essentially works by inhibiting (blocking) signals to genes called JAK1 and JAK2, which help control the number of blood cells the body makes.

While most people with COVID-19 develop mild symptoms, around five per cent develop severe respiratory illness, requiring admission to an Intensive Care Unit (ICU). Many of those patients with severe respiratory disease due to COVID-19 have features consistent with the cytokine release syndrome (CRS), also referred to as cytokine storm, an inflammatory syndrome that can be triggered by a variety of factors such as infections and certain drugs.

There is early evidence from research carried out in labs that blocking signals to the JAK1 and JAK2 genes could have a beneficial effect on the CRS and the course of severe respiratory disease in patients with COVID-19.