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Trials begin for new treatment that could help people living with type 1 diabetes diagnosed with Covid-19

Trials begin for new treatment that could help people living with type 1 diabetes diagnosed with Covid-19

Studies of people with type 1 diabetes in hospitals to explore reducing serious side effects for people with the condition.

Published: Aug 26, 2020
Category: Research

This week the first patient will be dosed with a new therapy that could treat people with diabetes suffering from Covid-19 as part of an advanced clinical trial in the UK. 

The Medicines and Healthcare products Agency (MHRA) has approved the trial following new preclinical research that suggests a glucose kinase activator (AZD1656) could help people living with type 1 diabetes infected with Covid-19 (coronavirus).

The treatment works by dampening the overactive response of the immune system – especially found in people with type 1 diabetes who may have raised blood glucose levels.

As previously reported, almost one in three of all deaths from coronavirus among people in hospital in England during the Covid-19 pandemic have been associated with diabetes.

A follow-up NHS report confirmed that people living with diabetes are at a significantly increased risk if they get Covid-19 compared to people without the condition.

The breakdown of figures confirmed that people with type 1 diabetes who are diagnosed with Covid-19 are more likely to die from the illness than people with type 2 diabetes.

People in hospital with mild to moderate Covid-19 symptoms will be involved in the trial - and if successful the compound could ultimately be prescribed by a GP for people with type 1 diabetes showing signs of early Covid-19 symptoms.

The treatment set for trial is believed to be unique among the hundreds of Covid-19-related research projects being carried out around the world today.

The trials have been arranged and structured by Professor Sir Chris 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. 

Professor Sir Chris Evans, Chairman and CEO of Excalibur Healthcare Services, who is arranging and structuring the trials, said: “All of us supporting this trial recognise this drug has the potential to make a huge difference to people with type 1 diabetes who are unfortunate enough to contract coronavirus (Covid-19) 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, named ARCADIA, with investment from Mubadala of Abu Dhabi, one of the world’s leading sovereign wealth funds in addition to funding secured from the UK Government through the UKRI / Innovate UK programme. This enables the trial to go ahead at speed in 150 patients over a 4-month timeframe at multiple sites in the UK.

St George Street, a UK-based biomedical research charity will lead the clinical trial.

Professor John Martin, Chairman of St George Street and Principal Investigator on the grant awarded by UKRI, said: “Novel research thinking in an interdisciplinary group combined with the drive of the charity and the excellent relationship we have with Astra Zeneca have produced the potential for a great therapeutic leap.  This also has potential for non-diabetic patients with Covid-19.”

David Tapolczay, CEO St George Street, said: “Given the current crisis, we have paused all our current research programmes to focus totally on this clinical trial and evaluate this potentially life-saving new drug. Our charity was set up to accelerate the delivery of treatments to patients and this ethos is needed now more than ever before. We want to do everything in our power to ensure patients recover from this terrible virus.”

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Category: Research

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