The UK government has secured deals for two new antiviral treatments for Covid-19.
Two new antiviral pills, which are thought to cut the risk of deaths and hospitalisations from Covid by up to half, could be made available on the NHS in the coming weeks. It was announced today that Number 10 had secured deals for the two new drugs with the hope that they can be approved for use in time for this winter.
Earlier this year, it was revealed that Pfizer were developing a pill that could treat Covid and be an antidote to future lockdowns. This pill, known as PF-07321332/ritonavir, is a combination of another oral antiviral treatment used in conjunction with ritonavir, a drug used to treat HIV/Aids. The UK has a deal for 250,000 courses, according to the latest announcements.
The second pill is known as molnupiravir, which can be taken twice a day in capsule form. This is made by Merck, and in trials has shown to cut the risk of hospitalisation or death for patients not in hospital by half. The UK has a deal covering 480,000 courses.
Should the approval for the two pills go through, it is thought that the initial deal would be enough to cover treatment in the UK for the next two winters. The trials for PF-07321332/ritonavir are also still taking place, and would arrive in late-January. Molnupiravir, if approved by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory agency, could arrive by mid-November.
Health Secretary Sajid Javid, said these would form part of “an armoury of life-saving measures to tackle the virus”, and in a press conference earlier today urged people eligible for their booster shot to come forward for the jab.