Dr. Hilary Jones has warned that the government’s promise of an antiviral drug against Covid-19 “will not be possible anytime soon.”
The Prime Minister announced yesterday evening (April 20) a new antivirals task force that will enable people to take Covid treatments at home within months.
On Downing Street, the Prime Minister said: “The success of our vaccination program has shown what Britain can achieve when we bring our brightest minds together.
“Our new Antivirals Task Force will strive to develop innovative treatments that you can use at home to help stop COVID-19. These could be another important defense against a future increase in infections and save more lives. “
Health Secretary Matt Hancock added, “Based on the success of the Vaccine and Therapeutic Task Forces, which have played a critical role in our response to the pandemic, we are now assembling a new team that will accelerate and implement the search for antiviral treatments as soon as autumn.
“I am determined to strengthen the UK’s position as a life science superpower and this new task force will help us beat and better rebuild COVID-19.”
But Dr. Hilary has warned that the goal is “extremely ambitious” but one that he “cannot imagine will be met”.
Speaking of Good Morning Britain, he said, “It sounds like the holy grail, doesn’t it? Indeed, it is a great promise and an extremely ambitious project that I cannot imagine being fulfilled.”
“Providing two antivirals to take at home if you’ve been exposed to the virus to keep you from getting it is not going to be possible anytime soon, in my opinion.
“If you look at the history, we have no effective antivirals at all during this pandemic. We used remdesivir which is of little benefit to hospital patients who have been very sick for a few days, but it has to be given intravenously, it has side effects and it’s not cheap so it won’t be a possibility.
“We have other antivirals for things like chickenpox, for HIV, that are effective for these infections, but not for this Covid-19 virus.
“We have other therapies like dexamethasone, which is not antiviral, but anti-inflammatory. That was very effective and very useful, and it’s cheap.
“We also have monoclonal antibodies, we have stem cells that are being examined, we have convalescent plasma. None of them are antiviral, and they are all very expensive and difficult to administer.
“We are looking for reused drugs that are already known because we know they are safe but not effective.
“We don’t have any antivirals right now.”
He added, “It would be a wonderful thing if it happened and they have the best scientists working on it. But we don’t have any new antivirals right now, and it takes years to develop these and make sure they do are.” for sure.”
Good morning UK continues on ITV at 6am on weekdays.