Covid pill: Boris says tablet taken at home will stop severe virus – autumn target

During Tuesday’s briefing, the Prime Minister unveiled a new section of the Government’s coronavirus response to the pandemic. The taskforce will aim to identify an antidote amid concerns over new mutant strains.

He said the new “antivirals task force” will “promising new medicines” to treat Covid by autumn.

Mr Johnson said: “The success of our vaccination programme has demonstrated what the UK can achieve when we bring together our brightest minds.

“Our new Antivirals Taskforce will seek to develop innovative treatments you can take at home to stop Covid-19 in its tracks.

“These could provide another vital defence against any future increase in infections and save more lives.”

Health Secretary Matt Hancock highlighted the importance of having treatments that will help fight the spread of the virus, as well as a powerful immunisation programme.

He said: “The UK is leading the world in finding and rolling out effective treatments for Covid-19, having identified dexamethasone, which has saved over a million lives worldwide, and tocilizumab.

“In combination with our fantastic vaccination programme, medicines are a vital weapon to protect our loved ones from this terrible virus.”

The Health Secretary anticipated that the new oral treatments could be available to Britons as soon as Autumn.

He added: “Modelled on the success of the vaccines and therapeutics taskforces, which have played a crucial part in our response to the pandemic, we are now bringing together a new team that will supercharge the search for antiviral treatments and roll them out as soon as the Autumn.

“I am committed to boosting the UK’s position as a life science superpower and this new taskforce will help us beat Covid-19 and build back better.”

Sir Patrick Vallance, the Chief Scientific Officer, hailed antiviral medicine as “another key tool” to tackle the virus.

He added: “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.

“The Taskforce will help ensure the most promising antivirals are available for deployment as quickly as possible.”


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