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Southampton Clinical Trials UnitNews

New COVID-19 drug boosts hospital patients’ recovery

Published: 29 April 2022
Doctor and patient

The drug bemcentinib could help to further improve the care COVID-19 patients receive in hospital, a sub-study of the Southampton-led ACCORD trial has shown.

The biopharmaceutical company BerGenBio, who ran the sub-study, found bemcentinib helped to boost the recovery of hospitalised COVID-19 patients when given on top of the treatments they were already receiving as part of standard care.

Overall, 26 of the 29 patients (90 percent) treated with bemcentinib recovered to the extent that they improved by two points on the WHO scoring system or were discharged from hospital. They took an average of seven days to reach this point.

By comparison, 22 of 32 patients (69 percent) on standard care alone reached this point in their recovery, taking an average of nine and a half days.

The ACCORD trial, led by Southampton’s Professor Tom Wilkinson, is a UK-wide clinical trial platform which aims to accelerate the development of new drugs for patients hospitalised with COVID-19. It assesses several potential COVID-19 treatments for those with severe COVID-19. These treatments are given on top of standard care, and compared with standard care alone.

The trial was supported by staff from the Southampton Clinical Trials Unit (SCTU) during its set-up and SCTU Director, Professor Gareth Griffiths, is a member of the ACCORD trial team.

Patients join the trial within a day after they are admitted to hospital. Eligible patients are categorized by a 9-point clinical scale system developed by the World Health Organization (WHO).

Following the success of the sub-study, bemcentinib will now progress onto the next stage of development. It will be studied in up to 500 hospitalised COVID-19 patients as part of the EU-SolidAct trial.

Professor Tom Wilkinson, Professor of Respiratory Medicine at the University of Southampton and Chief Investigator on the ACCORD program, said: "With COVID-19 still driving hospital admissions globally it is key that new, more effective treatments are being developed.

“These results from the ACCORD2 program indicate that bemcentinib has demonstrated real promise as a new therapeutic option for hospitalised patients, and it now warrants testing in larger studies. These results are a testament to the great collaboration between the NHS, NIHR, the MEU and our Southampton research teams, with more exciting results to follow from the platform."

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