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People across the south to be part of pioneering research in the fight against COVID-19

People across the south are being asked to play their part in helping vital research into new COVID-19 treatments.

A ground-breaking clinical trial platform being led by researchers at the Southampton Clinical Trials Unit is now recruiting patients through the NIHR Southampton Clinical Research Facility within the General Hospital.

The aim of the national AGILE platform is to fast-track potential new COVID-19 treatments through early phase clinical trials to help find drugs which can prevent people who contract the virus from becoming severely ill.

Professor Gareth Griffiths, Director of the NIHR Southampton Clinical Trials Unit, said:

“The UK’s COVID-19 vaccination programme has been a huge success and has led to a decrease in infection and hospitalisation rates. However, it will not irradicate COVID-19 infections entirely and it is therefore essential that we continue to find treatments for those people who do contract the virus to prevent them from developing the most severe symptoms and protect them from future infections.”

“In order to carry out this vital research, we rely on volunteer trial participants to help us see which treatments will be most effective. We are therefore asking people across the south to consider taking part in the AGILE trial if they meet the trial requirements.”

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

Now trials are also opening at the NIHR Southampton Clinical Research Facility, based within University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust, and people from across the South are being encouraged to take part in the trials and help move COVID-19 research forward.

Professor Christopher Edwards, Associate Director of the Southampton CRF and Principal Investigator for AGILE in Southampton, said:

“We are delighted that the AGILE platform is now recruiting patients in Southampton. The NIHR Southampton CRF has already been involved in other COVID-19 trials and we have experience with early phase studies.”

“We hope that people across the south coast will be motivated to be involved in this ground-breaking research and help us to help find new treatments to combat this virus which has affected so many.”

The UK Government recently announced its support for the AGILE platform with £3.2m of funding awarded by the Medical Research Council and co-funded through the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) to allow AGILE’s activity to be expanded into more UK centres.

To find out more about this trial, please contact the AGILE team at the Southampton CRF on 07469 565 895 or email [email protected]

Notes to editors


The Southampton Clinical Trials Unit (CTU) is a National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) supported CTU with expertise in the design, conduct and analysis of multicentre, interventional clinical trials. The CTU is based within the University of Southampton with offices at the University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust Southampton General Hospital site. Visit the SCTU website.  

The NIHR Southampton Clinical Research Facility (CRF) is one of 19 NIHR clinical research facilities networked across the UK, giving superb access to research expertise and infrastructure. The CRF is where the latest scientific developments first enter the clinic, both from our own laboratories and from leading companies. Visit the CRF website.

AGILE is an academic clinical trial platform led by the University of Liverpool and the NIHR Southampton Clinical Trial Unit, in partnership with researchers from the Liverpool Tropical School of Medicine, NIHR Liverpool and Broadgreen Clinical Research Facility and Lancaster University. It has been established to enable the rapid clinical evaluation of potential COVID19 therapeutics across the UK CRF Network. Visit the AGILE website.  

University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust provides services to some 1.9 million people living in Southampton and south Hampshire, plus specialist services such as neurosciences, cardiac services and children’s intensive care to more than 3.7 million people in central southern England and the Channel Islands. The Trust is also a major centre for teaching and research in association with the University of Southampton and partners including the Medical Research Council and Wellcome Trust. Visit the UHSFT website.

The University of Southampton is among the top 90 institutions globally (QS World University Rankings 2021) and top 15 in the UK (The Times and The Sunday TimesGood University Guide 2021). As a founding member of the Russell Group, we are committed to using our knowledge to help shape economic, cultural and intellectual decisions, playing a part in researching solutions to national and global issues. Visit the University’s website.

For more information on the Government’s support for AGILE platform and the £3.2m funding boost from the MRC and NIHR, please see the Department for Health and Social Care’s press release

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