Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a new Antivrials Taskforce on Tuesday – but what is it and what impact could it have?
Here’s a look at some of the key points…
What is the taskforce and what will it do?
The new taskforce is to identify potential treatments for UK patients who have been exposed to COVID-19 to stop the infection from spreading and to speed up people’s recovery time.
The taskforce has been launched by the UK Government and could be responsible for deploying innovative Coronavirus treatments as early as this Autumn.
What impact could the taskforce have?
It is hoped that the taskforce will be able to identify and then deploy innovative new treatments against COVID-19 that can be taken at home. The aim is to have at least two effective treatments this year, in either a tablet of capsule form.
Describing the types of treatments that the taskforce may search for, Boris Johnson said on Tuesday that there may be a tablet that people who have tested positive for coronavirus could take to speed up their recovery time.
The taskforce is designed to be another tool to combat any future spikes in COVID-19 infections, with experts warning that a further wave of infections is likely later this year. The UK previously identified and rolled out the dexamethasone treatment, which is estimated to have saved a million lives around the world.
What has been said about the taskforce?
Sir Patrick Vallance, the Government’s Chief Scientific Adviser has said “Antivirals in tablet form are another key tool for the response. 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.”