Medical Innovation
Trial to start for new Covid-19 treatment aimed at diabetes patients

By - Integrated Care Journal

Doctors at Barts Health NHS Trust are offering patients with diabetes who develop Covid-19 the opportunity to take part in groundbreaking research of a new therapy that may prevent the worst effects of the virus.

Those who live with diabetes face a significantly higher risk of dying from Covid-19. Multiple reports reveal that one in three deaths from Covid-19 in hospital in England is associated with diabetes.

Dr Kieran McCafferty, Consultant Nephrologist at Barts Health NHS Trust, commented: “We know that the outcomes are worse for patients with diabetes who develop Covid and, as we see the number of infections rise again, it is vitally important that we explore all treatments that may help save lives. ”

The trail has been approved by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). The approval followed from new preclinical research which suggests that a glucose kinase activator (AZD1656) could help diabetes sufferers who are Covid-19 positive by dampening the overactive response of the immune system typically acute in those patients with raised blood glucose levels. The trial will involve hospitalised patients with mild to moderate Covid-19 symptoms and, if successful, the compound could be prescribed by a GP for people with diabetes presenting with early Covid-19 symptoms.

Professor Chris Evans, Chairman and CEO of Excalibur Healthcare Services, stated: “All of us supporting this trial recognise this drug has the potential to make a huge difference to people with diabetes who are unfortunate enough to contract coronavirus and we foresee a significant impact on the level of fatalities in the future. Treatments such as this could be vital as we are likely to be living with this horrific virus for some time to come.

The trial was arranged and structured by Professor Evans through a new vehicle: Excalibur Medicines Ltd, which brought together the scientific intellectual property, international funding and a world-leading team to drive the project forward.

Initially, the drug was developed by Astra Zeneca, which agreed to provide substance for the trial. Meanwhile, St George Street is leading the clinical trial.

The trial, which is named ARCADIA, will commence after having sourced investment from Mubadala of Abu Dhabi. This is in addition to funding secured from the UK Government through the UKRI/Innovate UK programme. With this funding, the trial can go ahead with 150 patients over a four-month timeframe at multiple sites in the UK.


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