Full Trial Title: A phase IIa double blind, randomised placebo-controlled trial of Tocilizumab to investigate the effect on health-related quality of life in adults with Long COVID and persistent inflammation (PHOSP-I)

Purpose of the PHOSP-I Trial

Some people who have had a COVID-19 have persistent symptoms beyond 3 months which can last for years. This is known as Long COVID. Long COVID is thought to affect around 2 million people in the UK. We have shown in previous research a link between the severity of ongoing health impairments and inflammation (disrupted processes in the body). Currently there are no specific medications for Long COVID and it is therefore a national priority to find effective treatments.

This trial aims to investigate whether a medication called Tocilizumab will improve symptoms and help improve health-related quality of life in people living with Long COVID. Tocilizumab is currently being used to treat some patients admitted to hospital with COVID-19. Tocilizumab may be effective in treating patients with Long COVID by reducing inflammation and thereby improving symptoms such as fatigue, breathlessness, brain fog and pain. This trial is comparing Tocilizumab with a placebo (‘dummy drug’). Approximately 152 participants will be asked to take part in this trial from approximately 15 UK hospitals.

Participating Sites

The following sites are taking part in the study:

  • University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust (Dr Tom Ward)
  • Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust (Dr Georgios Kaltsakas)
  • King's College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust (Dr Caroline Jolley)
  • University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (Dr Melissa Heightman)
  • Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (Dr Emily Fraser)
  • Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (Dr Joby Cole)
  • Cambridge University Trust, Addenbrookes (Dr Hoi Ping Mok)
  • Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust (Prof. Christopher Twelves)
  • University Hospitals of Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust (Dr Dhruv Parekh)
  • NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde (Prof. Colin Berry)
  • Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (Dr Jayne Holme)
  • Northern Care Alliance NHS Foundation Trust (Prof. Nawar Bakerly)
  • Cardiff and Vale University Health Board (Dr Helen Davies)

Contact Us

If you would like further information about this trial, you can contact the team at

  • Chief Investigator: Dr Rachael Evans, University of Leicester
  • Project Manager: Victoria Harris, University Hospitals of Leicester
  • Research Assistant: Jill Clanchy, University of Leicester
  • PHOSP-I Administrator: Ayesha Butt, University of Leicester
  • PPI Lead: Linzy Houchen-Wolloff, University of Leicester
  • Sponsor: University of Leicester
  • Funder: Roche