Introduction; COVID-19 (Coronavirus Disease 2019) is a new viral-induced pneumonia caused by infection with a novel coronavirus, SARS CoV2 (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2). At present there are few proven effective treatments. This early phase experimental medicine protocol describes an overarching and adaptive trial designed to provide safety data in patients with COVID-19, pharmacokinetic (PK)/ pharmacodynamic (PD) information and exploratory biological surrogates of efficacy, which may support further development and deployment of candidate therapies in larger scale trials of COVID-19 positive patients.

Methods and analysis; DEFINE is an ongoing exploratory multicentre platform, open label, randomised study. COVID-19 positive patients will be recruited from the following cohorts; a) community cases b) hospitalised patients with evidence of COVID-19 pneumonitis and c) hospitalised patients requiring assisted ventilation. The cohort recruited from will be dependent on the experimental therapy, its route of administration and mechanism of action. Randomisation will be computer generated in a 1:1:n ratio. Twenty patients will be recruited per arm for the initial two arms. This is permitted to change as per the experimental therapy.
The primary statistical analyses are concerned with the safety of candidate agents as add-on therapy to standard of care in patients with COVID-19. Secondary analysis will assess the following variables during treatment period 1) the response of key exploratory biomarkers 2) change in WHO ordinal scale and NEWS2 score 3) oxygen requirements 4) viral load 5) duration of hospital stay 6) PK/PD and 7) changes in key coagulation pathways.


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Cite as

Gaughan, E., Quinn, T., Bruce, A., Antonelli, J., Young, V., Mair, J., Akram, A., Hirani, N., Koch, O., Mackintosh, C., Norrie, J., Dear, J. & Dhaliwal, K. 2021, 'Evaluation of new or repurposed treatments for COVID-19: protocol for the phase 1b/2a DEFINE trial platform', BMJ Open, 11, article no: e054442. https://doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2021-054442

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Last updated: 29 August 2023
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