UK Secures Ground-breaking COVID-19 Antivirals

Help is on the way for thousands of vulnerable patients battling COVID-19. On 20th October, the government announced deals that will secure two new ground-breaking treatments. Patients could have access to the new antiviral treatments as early as this winter.

The deals represent a key step for the government’s Antivirals Taskforce and its goals of acquiring at least two new treatments by the end of 2021.

‘This is a very important development in our mission to find antivirals for those exposed to COVID-19, supporting the renowned programme and the NHS over the coming months’, Antivirals Taskforce Chair Eddie Gray said.

Antivirals are treatments used to prevent infection among individuals exposed to a virus or treat those already infected. These methods target the virus at an early stage of infection and prevent it from becoming more serious.

General information on these particular antivirals includes:

  • Molnupiravir—The government has secured 480,000 courses of this treatment developed by Merck Sharp and Dohme. Clinical trials have shown that this treatment can decrease the risk of hospitalisation or death by 50 per cent among at-risk, non-hospitalised adults with mild to moderate COVID-19.
  • PF-07321332/ritonavir—The government has secured 250,000 courses of this new antiviral developed by Pfizer. Three phase 2/3 trails are currently being conducted for this treatment.

If these new treatments are approved by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency, thousands of Britons will be able to benefit from the slower spread of COVID-19 and faster recovery times.

The government and the NHS have begun collaborating on plans for deploying the treatments. These plans include the delivery of a national study, which will help medical experts better understand the potential benefits of the new antivirals.

‘Since the beginning of this pandemic, we have been building an armoury of life-saving measures to tackle the virus and protect the country—including our phenomenal vaccination programme and therapeutics’, Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid said. ‘I am delighted to confirm we may soon have a new defence in our arsenal with two new antiviral drugs that we have secured’.

In addition to the newly announced antivirals, the Antivirals Taskforce will continue its efforts to explore and acquire further treatment options across a variety of antiviral mechanisms. The government hopes that the ongoing work of both the Antivirals Taskforce and the Therapeutics Taskforce will protect as many people as possible from not only COVID-19 and potential variants but other future diseases as well.

For more information on the coronavirus pandemic, contact us today.

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