A drug that could help treat coronavirus is to be trialled on a small number of patients in England and Scotland. Known as remdesivir, the drug was originally designed to treat Ebola but now it is considered to be one of the potential leads for treatment for the coronavirus
Remdesivir was a drug that was considered to be a potential treatment for Ebola. The drug is designed to interfere with the way the virus reproduces and stops it from multiplying inside the body.
Gilead, the company responsible for manufacturing the drug is spearheading the clinical trials and has begun testing its coronavirus antiviral remdesivir in the UK. Gilead’s general manager, Hilary Hutton-Squire said the drug is a product of ten years worth of work.
"Remdesivir was a product we had looked at against SARS and MERS and seen that it had some activity, and that's why we thought it was really important to see if it has a role to play in treating patients with Covid--19 as quickly as we can."
Gilead is a biotech company specialises in producing antiviral medications. The big biotech company will launch a series of trial sites for its investigational broad-spectrum drug
With plans to trial the drug in patients in England and Scotland, two studies are to be carried out in the UK - one on patients with moderate symptoms, and one on those who are in a serious conditions
The studies, which have been fast-tracked by the government, will initially involve 15 NHS centres
Currently, there are already three ongoing COVID-19 clinical trials at locations across China and the U.S. for remdesivir.
Priority to new drugs
UK regulator Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) said they would prioritise and support any new drugs that could help the fight against Covid--19.
With no approved therapies for coronavirus infection, MHRA hopes to speed up the approval process for drugs that show promise in fighting the disease.
Joining the fight
The UK-based AI drug discovery company Exscientia has also joined the national effort to find treatments for the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2.
Exscientia said it has joined a joint transatlantic initiative with the UK’s synchrotron facility the Diamond Light Source and Calibr, a division of US-based Scripps Research to screen nearly every known approved and investigational drug against COVID-19 targets.
The companies hope the process could rapidly identify and develop drugs that could become a viable treatment against coronavirus.
Oxford University researchers have also started trials on patients to see if HIV or inflammation drugs can help treat coronavirus.