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Groundbreaking UK COVID-19 treatments to be fast-tracked through clinical trials



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.

  • Government awards multi-million-pound funding to phase 1 clinical trial platform to fast-track innovative treatments

  • NHS patients could receive cutting-edge COVID-19 treatments in months rather than years

  • Move will bring in the world’s best researchers to trial treatments in the UK


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:

“Today’s news will ensure all phases of clinical trials for new treatments are done in the UK, protecting our supply chain and securing the world’s best treatments for NHS patients at a much faster rate. I am immensely proud of the work that’s been undertaken by the brilliant scientists behind these treatments and the thousands of UK patients who have taken part in the trials.

“Together, we can continue to ensure the UK is one of the best countries in the world for trialling and deploying the most groundbreaking medical advancements for both COVID-19 and for dangerous diseases in the future.”

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.


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