Antivirals ‘could boost Covid fight’
AT-HOME Covid-19 treatments are being sought by a team of Government experts to speed up recovery time for people who become infected with the virus.
The Government has set up a new taskforce to “supercharge” the search for antiviral medications for Covid-19.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the group will seek out new medicines to “stop Covid-19 in its tracks”.
It is hoped that antivirals could help to reduce infections and limit the impact of any new variants.
They may also help to protect people who cannot take vaccines or those who are not fully protected after having the jab. Officials hope to find and bring two treatments online this year.
This could mean that people with Covid19, or those they have been in close contact with, could be offered antiviral medication – offered in tablet form – to stop the infection spreading and speed up recovery time. The new Antivirals Taskforce, which is yet to appoint a chair, will search for the most promising potential antiviral medicines which can be taken at home.
The taskforce will support the develop
ment of the drugs through clinical trials and also look at manufacturing opportunities.
Antiviral drugs are a type of medication used specifically for treating viral infections, and act by killing or preventing the growth of viruses. The Prime Minister told a Downing Street news conference that they could give confidence to people that the country could “continue on our path towards freedom”.
“This means for example that if you test positive for the virus that there might be a tablet you could take at home to stop the virus in its tracks and significantly reduce the chance of infection turning into more serious disease,” he said.
Mr Johnson said there was nothing in the current data to suggest that they could not proceed with the next stage of unlocking under the road map as planned. However he said that most scientists were “firmly of the view” that there would be a third wave of the disease at some point this year. It came after weekly registered deaths involving coronavirus in England and Wales have remained at the lowest level for more than six months, with the Easter break affecting numbers, figures show. There were 379 deaths registered in the week ending April 2 where Covid-19 was mentioned on the death certificate, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said. This is the lowest number since the week ending October 2 and down 5% on the previous seven days. The ONS said the number of deaths registered was affected by the Easter bank holiday.
As of 9am yesterday, there were a further 2,524 lab-confirmed cases in the UK and 33 deaths. Data up to April 19 shows that of the 43,457,910 jabs given in the UK so far, 33,032,120 were first doses – a rise of 99,672 on the previous day. Some 10,425,790 were second doses, an increase of 273,751.