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Recruitment underway for new arms of COVID-19 clinical trial platform - ACCORD

Published: 04 June 2020

The first four arms of ACCORD have now recruited and enrolled COVID-19 patients. Recruitment is ongoing and is being encouraged across sites in the UK as each arm seeks to enroll around 60 patients to test potential treatments for COVID-19.

ACCORD (Accelerating, COVID-19 Research & Development) is a new national clinical trial platform designed to fast-track the evaluation of potential COVID-19 treatments. The launch of the trial was announced on 28 April and brings together government bodies, clinical academic research experts and the life sciences industry. ACCORD is a platform trial which has been designed to reduce the time taken to set up clinical studies from months to just weeks, and enables multiple new therapies to be tested in parallel.

ACCORD currently has four arms, which are comparing potential new treatments against NHS standard of care. The potential treatments vary from drugs currently in use such as Heparin, which is used for blood thinning, to new therapies that are being trialled for conditions such as muscular, lung and blood disorders, which have potential anti-viral or anti-inflammatory properties. More information about ACCORD is available on the trial's website.

On 6 May the first participant was recruited at University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust through NIHR Southampton Biomedical Research Centre (BRC). Professor Tom Wilkinson, ACCORD clinical academic lead based at the NIHR Southampton BRC, said:

“There has been a tremendous joint effort between the NHS, NIHR and IQVIA to successfully recruit the first patients into the ACCORD platform. As more patients are recruited to ACCORD, and we see results from the treatments being trialled, we can rapidly advance the most promising through phase 2 clinical trials into the NHS.”

Further patients were then recruited onto the other three arms including patients at Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust. These health-data-enabled sites are both part of IQVIA’s Northern Prime Site initiative which was launched with NIHR support in November 2019 and is one of the key commitments in the Government's Life Sciences Industrial Strategy Sector 2 Deal. James Brook from IQVIA said:

“IQVIA is proud to be able to mobilise our trial platform and use our network of clinical trial infrastructure, including the Northern Prime Site, research expertise and data analytics to work with the NIHR partners to ensure we can step up and recruit to studies within the ACCORD platform rapidly.”

Speaking about the speed at which ACCORD has been set up and recruitment is taking place for nationally prioritised trials, William van’t Hoff, Chief Executive of the NIHR Clinical Research Network said:

“The pace and scale at which we are delivering nationally prioritised COVID-19 studies like ACCORD is unprecedented and is testament to NIHR’s capacity to support research across our expert centres and every NHS site. Matched in a collaboration such as with IQVIA, we can help support research very quickly but also seek to offer opportunities for patients to recruit across many centres. And as the number of cases of COVID-19 begins to decrease in some areas, this is essential to enable us to continue recruitment to these vital studies, so as to generate the clinical evidence we need to beat this virus.”

The team delivering ACCORD at Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust first recruited a patient on 19 May. Dr Andrew Ustianowski, Research Lead and Consultant in Infectious Diseases and Tropical Medicine for North Manchester General Hospital, said:

“We were delighted to be able to offer participation in ACCORD, and the potential treatments involved, to this individual so rapidly. We are in urgent need of evidence-based therapies in this disease and platform studies such as ACCORD are one of our main routes to develop these. This would not have been possible without the unprecedented work and efforts of many groups – from the NIHR Urgent Public Health Review Committee and the NIHR Coordinating Centre, to the Clinical Research Network, our Organisation and our superb research team. My thanks to all.”


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 aims to get an early indication of whether or not these drug candidates are effective in treating coronavirus. If positive results are seen, these drugs will advance rapidly into the large-scale trials that are already in progress across the country such as the RECOVERY trial, currently the world’s largest randomised controlled clinical trial for COVID-19 treatment.

About IQVIA Northern Prime Site

The IQVIA Northern Prime site is one of the key commitments set out by the Government's Life Sciences Industrial Strategy Sector 2 Deal in December 2018. It was set-up and launched in November 2019 with support from the NIHR. Over five years IQVIA will invest £24million in the North of England regional health economy, including the employment of an additional 50 staff, to help drive clinical research across the North of England. The Northern Prime site brings together NHS research-ready hospitals across Greater Manchester and the Yorkshire and Humber region and has a specific focus on data-driven and technology-rich approaches to the design and delivery of clinical trials and real-world evidence studies. It is the fourth Prime Site to be established in the UK and one of 39 worldwide. IQVIA currently conducts 20% of all its commercial clinical trials within the NHS, 35% of which is through their UK Prime Site network. Learn more about IQVIA's Northern Prime Site.

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