Two patients at the Northern Care Alliance NHS Group (NCA) are the first in the UK to join branches of a crucial national study testing potential new treatments for Covid-19.
Funded by the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) and UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), this collaborative programme – known as the ACCORD (Accelerating COVID-19 Research & Development platform) – aims to get an early indication of different drug treatments’ effectiveness in treating coronavirus and if positive results are seen, these drugs will advance rapidly into the large-scale trials currently in progress across the country. The platform is provided by the clinical research company IQVIA and supported by the UK’s leading research expertise through the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR).
Research staff at the Royal Oldham Hospital have started a patient on the drug Zilucoplan, which acts on inflammation. Research staff at North Manchester General Hospital, working with colleagues from Salford Royal, have given Acalabrutinib, normally a leukaemia treatment, to a patient there.
The UK’s four Chief Medical Officers and NHS England and Improvement’s National Medical Director recently wrote to every NHS Trust in the country highlighting the importance of the ACCORD platform, saying that with sufficient patients taking part, useful evidence could be available within weeks.
Professor Steve Woby, Director of Operations: Research & Innovation at the NCA, said: “The ACCORD platform is crucial to the UK’s work on seeking an effective treatment for coronavirus and it is vitally important that patients are given the chance to take part as quickly as possible.
“We are proud that more than 2,300 patients across the NCA are taking part in Covid-19 research that is recognised as an urgent public health priority and are hugely grateful to our patients and their families for supporting research at such a difficult time.
“As well as leading the way on the ACCORD platform, we have well over 200 patients taking part in the RECOVERY study, testing potential treatments which are already in use for other conditions.
“We are delighted to work with patients and colleagues throughout Greater Manchester, nationally and internationally to help to answer this unprecedented health challenge.”
Altogether, 17 Covid-19 research studies are currently open across the NCA, with all hospital sites – Salford Royal, the Royal Oldham, Fairfield General and North Manchester General – active in research.
Professor Woby added: “We are also contributing to databanks and tissue collections that will be used in the longer term to increase our knowledge and understanding of coronavirus. This includes a project involving our own Northern Care Alliance Research Collection and the Lydia Becker Institute at The University of Manchester which has set out to track the immune response in people who are admitted to hospital with Covid-19.
“We are supporting a ground-breaking new study of the disease which aims to sequence the genomes of 20,000 people who are severely ill with Covid-19 and compare them to a further 15,000 Covid-19 patients who experienced only mild symptoms. This may help explain why some patients with Covid-19 experience a mild infection, others require intensive care and why for some it is sadly fatal.”
Read more about ACCORD on the NIHR website here.