Selected NHS coronavirus patients will soon be able to access a treatment to speed up their recovery.
Thanks to the joined-up efforts of the UK government, the devolved administrations, pharmaceutical company Gilead Sciences, the NHS, and the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), the anti-viral drug remdesivir will be made available to patients meeting certain clinical criteria to support their recovery in hospital.
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 4 days.
The Early Access to Medicines Scheme (EAMS) and scientific opinion from MHRA supports remdesivir to be used by selected NHS patients. For the time being and due to limited supplies, treatment will be prioritized for patients who have the greatest likelihood of deriving the most benefit.
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.”
Allocation of the drug will be based on expert clinical advice and will take into consideration the situation where it is most likely to provide the greatest benefit.
The UK government continues to work closely with its partners across the devolved administrations, the health system and industry to ensure UK patients have the greatest possible chance of getting the latest, ground-breaking treatments as quickly as possible.
Dr June Raine, MHRA Chief Executive, said:
“We are committed to ensuring that patients can have fast access to promising new treatments for COVID-19.
“We will continue to work closely with the Department of Health and Social Care and other healthcare partners on protecting public health in the UK by prioritising our essential work on clinical trials, access to medicines, and the development of vaccines.”
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