The world’s most innovative treatments for COVID-19 will soon be fast-tracked through the UK’s clinical trial system, as the government announces funding for the most promising treatments.
The move marks a landmark development in COVID-19 research that could see results for brand new treatments in months rather than years, and will enable the government to get even more safe and effective treatments to the NHS rapidly through a more streamlined process.
Currently, the government funds phase 2 and 3 trials, such as the RECOVERY trial, which brought life-saving treatments dexamethasone and tocilizumab to the NHS. Phase 1 trials, usually arranged by the researchers, are the earliest stage of human trials that ensure treatments are safe and show a signal of benefit in treating a disease.
The funding has been awarded to expand the AGILE clinical trial platform and will allow for global innovators to progress cutting-edge treatments for COVID-19 through all 3 clinical trial phases in the UK, further protecting our supply chain. This in turn will attract the brightest of researchers and manufacturers from around the world to trial their medicines here in Britain.
Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock said:
The funding has been awarded by the Medical Research Council (MRC) and co-funded though the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR).
A phase 1 trial is the earliest stage of human trials and is an essential first step that ensures treatments are safe. Once they pass phase 1, they then go into larger-scale phase 2 and 3 trials, such as RECOVERY or PRINCIPLE, before being made available on the NHS once proven to be effective.
The UK has proven throughout this pandemic to be a world leader in medical research and life sciences, stepping up quickly to the task of finding effective therapeutics for a completely new virus and supported by millions in funding by the UK government.