LONDON: British scientists are set to trial five new drugs in 30 hospitals across the country in the fight against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
The scientists are seeking hundreds of volunteers to take part in the trials for the new drugs, which they hope will reduce the need for intensive care treatment and the use of ventilators.
The new drugs include Heparin, which is used for blood thinning, and new medicines in clinical trials for conditions including muscular, lung and blood disorders, which have been shown to hold other antiviral and anti-inflammatory effects.
The tests will include the new medicine Medi3506, an anti-inflammatory injection developed for skin disorders and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. It has also been used in trials for asthma by its producer AstraZeneca.
The studies are part of the Accord (accelerating COVID-19 research and development) program, which includes large swathes of Britain’s scientific research and development community, including workers from the National Health Service (NHS), the National Institute for Health Research (NHIR) and the UK Research and Innovation body.
“We are looking for a signal of both safety and efficacy, something that could reduce the severity of the disease, shorten its duration and prevent patients going into the intensive care environment,” said Tom Wilkinson, a respiratory medicine professor and consultant and the Accord academic lead, from the NIHR Southampton Biomedical Research Centre.
He added that the program is still searching for patients to join the trial, with few people currently signed up.
“These are small, rapidly deliverable studies if we get patients in, so we’re looking only to achieve around 60 patients for each arm of the trial to receive one of the drugs compared to usual standard of care,” he said.
The hospitals taking part in the trial include St. Thomas’ in London, where Prime Minister Boris Johnson was treated.
Other major hospitals in Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds, Leicester and Glasgow are also involved.
Coastal hospitals such as Southend are also participating amid concerns of new spikes emerging following crowded gatherings on beaches in recent weeks.