Covid molnupiravir / Lagevrio antiviral pill ready for UK home trials

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The first home treatment for Covid-19 could have been offered to British patients before Christmas in an attempt to protect the most vulnerable from the Omicron variant.

The Sunday Telegraph reported that Sajid Javid was about to launch a nationwide pilot of the antiviral pill Molnupiravir, marketed under the name Lagevrio.

The newspaper said that under the plans the NHS was to provide courses of tablets to clinically vulnerable and immunocompromised patients within 48 hours of testing positive for Covid.

He said hospitals and general practitioners had been informed that a series of Covid drug delivery units were being set up to ensure that treatment reached patients as quickly as possible once it was confirmed that ‘they have the virus.

Last month, the UK became the first country in the world to allow its use – a move described as a “game changer” by Javid, the health secretary.

But just over a week ago England’s Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty warned its use may need to be reconsidered in light of Omicron’s emergence. “I think we probably need to rethink it just to make sure that with the new variant we are aiming in the right direction. “

A spokesperson for the Department of Health and Social Affairs said: ‘The UK has proven to be a world leader in identifying and deploying effective treatments for Covid-19, including through national trials supported by the government.

“The Government Antivirals Task Force has been launched to identify what treatments to take at home for UK patients who have been exposed to Covid-19, stopping the spread of infection and speeding up recovery time.

“There are a number of exciting opportunities in the pipeline and we will provide more details in due course. “

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