The University of Liverpool has announced the launch of a new $2.8m (£2.3m) National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR)-funded clinical trial in children in the UK. 

Named prophylactic antibiotics to prevent chest infections in children with neurological impairment (PARROT), the trial is led in the UK by the University of Liverpool and Alder Hey Children’s NHS Foundation Trust researchers. 

Several kids with neurological impairments caused by conditions such as cerebral palsy and Down Syndrome are prone to having chest infections that could lead to lengthy hospital stays and even premature death.

A joint UK and Australia trial, PARROT’s goal is to assess if long-term treatment with antibiotics can lower the impact of chest infections in children with neurological impairment.

The trial will recruit 500 children and young individuals of the age three to 17 years with neurological impairment and are at recurrent chest infection risk. 

Each subject will be part of the trial for a maximum of 20 months. 

In the trial, subjects will be categorised into two groups to receive either azithromycin, an antibiotic, or a placebo.

The trial will analyse if treatment with azithromycin for 12 months impacts hospital visit rates, GP and A&E visits, prescriptions, infections, infection treatments as well as both parent and child’s quality of life. 

Follow-up evaluations are expected to be carried out remotely aiding families to complete study questionnaires in the at-home setting and obtain respiratory swabs themselves.

The Liverpool Clinical Trials Centre will coordinate the trial.  

Apart from the NIHR Health Technology Assessment funding of $2.8m, the trial also received $1.4m from Australia’s National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC).