SOUTHAMPTON researchers are helping to deliver trials of a new therapy which could be used to treat Covid-19.

Researchers at the Southampton Clinical Trials Unit are helping to deliver clinical trials of the therapy as part of the "ground-breaking" AGILE2 trial platform.

The trial is funded by over £3m of investment from science-led global healthcare company, GlaxoSmithKline3 and clinical-stage immunology company, Vir Biotechnology4.

Both organisations have joined forces with researchers from the Universities of Southampton and Liverpool who are leading early phase trials to test new treatments for COVID-19.

Two antibody therapies, VIR-7831 and VIR-7832, will be given to patients who have tested positive for COVID-19 and have mild or moderate symptoms.

Pre-clinical studies of these antibody therapies are said to have already demonstrated "promising results" in combatting coronavirus infections.

Professor Gareth Griffiths, Director of the NIHR Southampton Clinical Trials Unit, said: “We are incredibly excited to be adding these two new therapies into the AGILE trial.

"The COVID-19 vaccination programme has brought much hope that we will bring this virus under control, but it will take time. "We therefore need to continue to find safe and effective treatments for people who will unfortunately get COVID-19 and the AGILE platform is a major part of this.”

This is the second therapeutic trial within the UK government supported AGILE drug testing platform.

The collaboration aims to rapidly identify therapies that have the potential to be used to treat COVID-19 patients and bring them into early phase clinical trials.

Dr. Hal Barron, Chief Scientific Officer and President R&D, GSK, said: "This study underscores our commitment to advancing our COVID-19 monoclonal antibodies across a range of settings from prevention through treatment.

"We expect initial results from the AGILE study to provide important clinical insights into the use of VIR-7832 early in the course of infection with SARS-CoV-2.”

The AGILE trial platform was launched in July 2020, and the first treatment in the drug testing platform entered into patient trials in Liverpool in September.