In an effort to tackle the present coronavirus pandemic, the UK government has launched a new initiative, the Accelerating COVID-19 Research & Development (ACCORD) programme. A collaboration between the public and private sectors, this programme will seek to identify effective COVID-19 treatments and accelerate the prospective drugs through clinical trials. 

At present, six drugs have been selected as candidates. Five of these have been publicly announced so far. It is hoped that some of these drugs will effectively target the virus by blocking entry into host cells or inhibiting viral replication. Other candidates are hoped to reduce serious immune reactions and prevent deterioration of severe cases. If any of these candidates yield positive results, they will be incorporated into Oxford University's ongoing research programme. 

The ACCORD programme boasts the promise of expedited research through the collaboration of various government institutions and private companies, including AstraZeneca and BerGenBio. While the involvement of the private sector in the sphere of public health remains a thorny issue, the sharing of funding, resources and expertise in this concerted effort may prove vital in the face of the current pandemic.

As the government eases lockdown measures and the weather remains fair across the country, many have raised fears that cases may again increase. However, though the threat of a second peak looms, this initiative may provide a much needed lifeline to many.