London, May 1st; On Wednesday, Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced a new clinical trial platform that will accelerate the development of new drugs for patients hospitalised with COVID-19, reduce the time taken to set up clinical studies for new therapies from months to just weeks.

The platform, called Accelerating COVID-19 Research & Development platform (ACCORD), will initially enable six potential drugs to be tested. The first of these drugs will begin phase 2 studies – the stage of a clinical trial focused on the testing of a drug on patients to assess how effective it is and side effects – across the UK imminently. The platform is being provided by the clinical research company and BioIndustry Association (BIA) member IQVIA and the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR).

Speaking at the daily press conference, Hancock said: “Currently no drugs in the world have been clinically proven to treat COVID-19. But our Therapeutics Taskforce 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.”