On 20 March 2020, we launched a £10 million fund to support research and testing of therapeutics that could be rapidly deployed to help address COVID-19. We assessed applications from academics and companies worldwide with promising approaches to re-purposing medicines, and we used criteria that included the scientific rationale of the approach and its ability to start trials within 6-12 months to shortlist applications.

An independent, expert Scientific Review Panel assessed the shortlisted applicants and those with the highest chance of delivering an improvement to COVID-19 patients were selected for funding.

Details of projects allocated funding

Almitrine

University of Oxford to test effectiveness of respiratory drug in improving COVID-19 outcomes, with potential to reduce the need for specialist ventilation

Research organisation:

University of Oxford

Research title:

Almitrine as a treatment for hypoxaemia in severe COVID-19 disease

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ATTRACT

Trial of 100 COVID-19 patients to test the impact of pulmonary fibrosis drug on COVID-19 progression

Research organisations:

University College London and Vicore Pharma

Research title:

A randomized phase 2 placebo-controlled clinical study named ATTRACT (Angiotensin II Type Two Receptor Agonist Covid-19 Trial) to test the impact of an AT2R agonist (VP01) on progression of COVID-19 disease

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DEFEAT-COVID study

London hospitals partner with Chinese researchers to study use of rheumatoid arthritis drug in improving COVID-19 outcomes in trial of 178 patients

Research organisations:
Ashford and St Peters Hospital NHS Trust, Guangdong Uni-Innovation Pharmaceuticals Co., Ltd.,

Research title:

Targeting de novo Pyrimidine Biosynthesis by leflunomide as a Novel Concept for the Treatment of Corona Virus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) (DEFEAT-COVID study)

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FLARE Trial

Clinical trial to investigate the early intervention of mild COVID-19 in healthcare workers with broad-spectrum antivirals

Research organisation:

University College London

Research title:

Favipiravir, lopinavir/ritonavir or combination therapy: a randomised, double blind, 2×2 factorial placebo-controlled trial of early antiviral therapy in COVID-19 (the FLARE trial)

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PIONEER Trial

Research organisations:

Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Royal Brompton Hospital, Imperial College

Summary:

Trial comparing two potential antiviral treatments for early intervention in hospitalised patients with COVID-19

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RAVEN

King’s College London and Guy’s and St Thomas’ researchers to study the use of blood cancer drug in reducing complications caused by SARS-CoV-2

Research organisations:

King’s College London and Guy’s and St Thomas’

Research title:

Ruxolitinib therapy to Avoid Ventilation and improve outcome for deteriorating COVID-19 patiENts (RAVEN)

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SPIKE-1 Trial

The University of Edinburgh and Cancer Research UK to conduct a trial to test use of potential virus-blocking treatment in improving COVID-19 outcomes

Research organisations:

The University of Edinburgh, Cancer Research UK (Trial sponsor), Latus Therapeutics Ltd

Research title:

SPIKE-1 Trial; A Randomised Phase II/III trial in a community setting, assessing use of camostat in reducing the clinical progression of COVID-19 by blocking SARS-CoV-2 Spike protein-initiated membrane fusion.

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The COVASE study

University College London and The Francis Crick Institute collaborate to test cystic fibrosis drug in hospitalised COVID-19 patients

Research organisations:

University College London and The Francis Crick Institute

Research title:

Investigation of an approved nebulised human Dornase enzyme (Pulmozyme) to reduce hyperinflammation in hospitalised people with COVID-19 (The COVASE study)

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