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National, collaborative platform launched to fast-track potential COVID-19 treatments

ACCORD - ACelerating COVID-19 Research and Development

Published: 28 April 2020

COVID-19 treatments could be fast-tracked through a new national clinical trial initiative involving the NIHR and its partners in industry and the government.

This platform will accelerate the development of new drugs for patients hospitalised with COVID-19, reducing the time taken to set up clinical studies for new therapies from months to just weeks and helping to ease pressure on the NHS and ultimately save lives.

This collaborative platform, known as ACCORD (Accelerating, COVID-19 Research & Development), aims to get an early indication of potential drug treatments’ effectiveness in treating coronavirus. If positive results are seen, these drugs will advance rapidly into the large-scale trials in progress across the country such as the RECOVERY trial, currently the world’s largest randomised controlled clinical trial for COVID-19 treatment.

Funded by the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) and UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), ACCORD brings together a single, UK-wide clinical trial platform provided by the clinical research company IQVIA, and the UK’s leading research expertise through the NIHR.

ACCORD has been made possible by partnership working between the Government Scientific Office, the NIHR’s Biomedical Research Centres and Clinical Research Facilities, and expert centres in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, clinical research company IQVIA and biopharmaceutical company AstraZeneca.

Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock said:

"Currently no drugs in the world have been clinically proven to treat COVID-19. But our Therapeutics Task Force has identified a number of promising candidates. Currently, six different treatments have been entered into national clinical trials and the first is ready to enter the next stage: a new, early-phase clinical trial platform that we are launching today."

"This is a national effort made possible by government, academia and industry working together."

Dr Jonathan Sheffield, NIHR Covid-19 Research Operations Director said:

“ACCORD will transform the way in which the UK’s research community finds treatments for global healthcare challenges such as COVID-19. ACCORD is an exemplary case of government, industry and research organisations working together with urgency, to the benefit of patients and the NHS. The NIHR’s experimental medicine infrastructure of people, facilities and technology is well-placed to fast-track research into COVID-19 treatments.”

Potential treatments will be rapidly fed into ACCORD as the programme rolls out over the next few weeks.

UK Research and Innovation Chief Executive, Professor Sir Mark Walport said:

“This initiative will rapidly test the most promising drugs in the fight against COVID-19. Bringing together expertise from across the UK’s world-class research and innovation sectors – from clinical researchers through to the pharmaceutical industry – this national platform will rapidly prioritise and deliver the best potential drugs into clinical trials to discover if they can help people with COVID-19.”

IQVIA is providing a national, single platform to ACCORD and will deliver the trials via NIHR’s world-class network of investigators and research facilities, and partners sites in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. AstraZeneca will work with the pharmaceutical industry to scope and support rapid upscaling of development and trials.

Read more about what the NIHR is doing to enable and deliver world-class COVID-19 research, on our response to COVID-19 page.

View the full press release

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