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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - LONDON — The government in the United Kingdom led by Prime Minister Boris Johnson launched on Tuesday a new “Antivirals Taskforce” to identify treatments for patients, who have been exposed to COVID-19, to stop the spread of the infection and speed up recovery time, according to an official statement.
The taskforce will search for the most promising novel antiviral medicines that can be taken at home and support their development through clinical trials to ensure they can be rapidly rolled out to patients as early as the autumn.
The taskforce will also look at opportunities to onshore the manufacture of antiviral treatments.
The aim is to have at least two effective treatments this year, either in a tablet or capsule form, that the public can take at home following a positive COVID-19 test or exposure to someone with the virus.
This will be another vital tool to combat any future increase in infections and limit the impact of new variants, especially over the flu season later this year.
Speaking during the launch of the taskforce, Johnson said: “The success of our vaccination program 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 defense against any future increase in infections and save more lives," the prime minister added.
Commenting on the development, Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock 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 program, medicines are a vital weapon to protect our loved ones from this terrible virus, Hancock added. — Agencies
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