Britain is launching a search for antiviral drugs to treat COVID-19 with the aim of having at least two effective treatments at home by the end of the year, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Tuesday.
Johnson welcomed the advent of COVID-19 vaccines and regular testing as keys to restoring normalcy by summer, but his government also supports research into therapy to help fight the pandemic.
“Our new working group on antivirus programs will seek to develop innovative treatments that you can take at home to stop COVID-19 on its way,” Johnson said.
“They could provide another vital defense against any future increase in infections and save more lives.”
The government hopes the new treatments could be taken at home after a positive test or exposure to coronavirus to reduce transmission and speed recovery, and they will further strengthen a range of already available therapeutic drugs.
A study by British scientists found that both the steroid dexamethasone and tocilizumab, an arthritis drug developed by Roche (ROG.S), reduced the risk of death in patients with severe COVID-19. read more
Patrick Vallance, the government’s chief scientific adviser, said that antiviral drugs in the form of tablets could help protect people who cannot have vaccines and be a layer of defense against new worried variants of coronavirus.
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