Taskforce to prioritise antivirals development

A TASKFORCE has been launched by the UK Government to identify antiviral treatments for patients exposed to Covid-19 to stop the infection spreading and speed up recovery times.

This aim is to develop treatments that could be taken at home after a positive test or exposure to Covid-19.

The new Antivirals Taskforce will search for promising antiviral medicines and support their development through clinical trials to ensure they can be rapidly rolled out to patients, as early as the autumn. The aim is to have at least two effective treatments this year, either in a tablet or capsule form.

The new taskforce will work alongside the government’s existing Therapeutics Taskforce.

Sir Patrick Vallance, Government Chief Scientific Adviser, said: "The speed at which vaccines and therapeutics such as dexamethasone have been identified and deployed against COVID-19 has been critical to the pandemic response.

"Antivirals in tablet form are another key tool for the response. They could help protect those not protected by or ineligible for vaccines. They could also be another layer of defence in the face of new variants of concern."

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