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Clinical trial programme to ‘fast-track’ Covid-19 treatments

ACCORD platform aims to get an early indication of drug treatments’ effectiveness

A national initiative on clinical trials aims to fast-track Covid-19 treatments for patients with coronavirus.

The Accelerating Covid-19 Research and Development Platform—known as ACCORD—aims to get an early indication of whether treatments are effective and then quickly advance promising drug candidates into large-scale trials.

The programme brings together a single, UK-wide clinical trial platform provided by the clinical research company IQVIA with research expertise from the National Institute for Health Research.

According to the Department for Health and Social Care, which is jointly funding the programme in collaboration with UK Research and Innovation, this will reduce the time needed to set up clinical studies for new therapies from months to weeks.

Six potential drugs will initially be tested by the programme, with the first of these already entering phase 2 trials in patients.

Health secretary Matt Hancock said the initiative had been made possible by government, academia and industry working together.

“Currently no drugs in the world have been clinically proven to treat Covid-19,” he said. “But our therapeutics taskforce has identified a number of promising candidates.”