The Prime Minister today launched a new task force to enable people to have new Covid treatments at home within months.
The Ministry of Health and Welfare said the new antivirals task force could identify and deploy innovative Covid treatments by the fall.
Der Spiegel Online The aim is to identify at least two effective treatments this year – either in tablet or capsule form.
People could bring them home after a positive Covid-19 test or exposure to someone with the virus, the government says.
The Prime Minister who started the group 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: “The UK is leading the world in finding and adopting effective treatments for COVID-19 after identifying dexamethasone, which has saved over a million lives worldwide, and tocilizumab.
“When combined with our fantastic vaccination program, drugs are an important weapon in protecting our loved ones from this terrible virus.
“Based on the success of the Vaccine and Therapeutic Task Forces, which have played a crucial role in our response to the pandemic, we are now assembling a new team to accelerate the search for antiviral treatments and roll them out this fall.
“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.”
It is hoped that the new task force will be an “important tool” in combating future infection spikes – especially later this year in the flu season.
The government will also soon launch a competition to elect a chair for the task force.
Sir Patrick Vallance, Chief Scientific Officer, said, “The speed with which vaccines and therapeutics such as dexamethasone were identified and used against COVID-19 was critical to the pandemic.
“Tablet antivirals are another important tool for the response. You could help protect those who are not or are not eligible for vaccines. They could also be another layer of defense in the face of new worrying variants.
“The task force will help ensure that the most promising antivirals are available as soon as possible.”