A UK taskforce working on antiviral Covid treatments may have a tablet that can prevent Covid-19 infection or alleviate its symptoms by the autumn, Boris Johnson has said.
With cases soaring in other countries, scientists have warned that another wave of the disease will hit the UK this year and the Prime Minister was keen to stress that “we cannot delude ourselves that Covid has gone away".
He said antivirals will be important in battling the disease and “helping us get back to normality". It is hoped the Government's antiviral taskforce, which was set up earlier this week, will develop treatments that will slow infection rates, reduce transmission and fight new Covid mutations during the flu season.
“The United Kingdom was the first country in the world to pioneer Dexamethasone which has saved a million lives globally. [Now] we are creating a new antivirals taskforce to search for the world’s most promising new medicines and support their development through clinical trials with the aim of making them safely and rapidly available as early as the autumn,” he said.
“This means, for example, that if you test positive, there might be a tablet you could take at home to stop the virus in its tracks and significantly reduce the chance of infection turning into disease.
“Or if you’re living with someone who has tested positive, there might be a pill you could take for a few days to stop you getting the disease yourself.
“And by focusing on these new antivirals, we hope to lengthen the UK’s lead in medicines and life sciences and to give ever greater confidence to the people of this country that we continue on our path towards freedom.”