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Drug approved for NHS COVID-19 treatment

Drug approved for NHS COVID-19 treatment

Some NHS coronavirus patients will soon be able to access a treatment to speed up their recovery, thanks in part to NIHR-supported research.

The antiviral drug remdesivir will be made available to patients meeting certain clinical criteria to support their recovery in hospital.

For the time being and due to limited supplies, treatment will be prioritised for patients with the greatest likelihood of deriving the most benefit.

The drug is currently undergoing clinical trials around the world, including in the UK, with early data showing it can shorten the time to recovery by about four days.

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency and the Commission on Human Medicines considered the emerging results of the Active COVID-19 Treatment Trial (ACTT) study, as well as studies conducted by pharmaceutical company Gilead Sciences.

Hospitalised patients with COVID-19 who volunteered for the study were randomly selected to receive the drug via a daily intravenous infusion or a placebo dummy drug, so the two could be compared.

The global study aims to recruit 800 people and ten were recruited at Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

Minister for Innovation Lord Bethell said: “This shows fantastic progress. As we navigate this unprecedented period, we must be on the front foot of the latest medical advancements, while always ensuring patient safety remains a top priority

“The latest, expert scientific advice is at the heart of every decision we make, and we will continue to monitor remdesivir’s success in clinical trials across the country to ensure the best results for UK patients.”