Boris Johnson accused of botching the deployment of antiviral drugs that are part of the “salvation” of Covid


On Thursday, it emerged that the UK had only ordered 250,000 doses of the Pfizer pill.

This compares to the 500,000 ordered by Australia, one million by Canada and 10 million by the United States.

Last week, Eddie Gray, UK chairman of the Antivirals Task Force, appeared to recognize a problem in encouraging patients to access the drug.

While avoiding a question about how many doses would be available in the next few weeks, he said: “If we can get enough people to enroll in the study, it compromises the volume we have is. almost a good problem to have. “

Antivirals are an important part of “our ultimate salvation from the pandemic”

Former Royal Navy minister and medical officer Dr Andrew Murisson said members of the public would be “disappointed” by the apparent “inertia” behind the deployment of molnupiravir.

The usual speed of deployment of NHS drugs “is not compatible with the urgency of the situation we find ourselves in right now,” he said.

“It is obviously important that we do this quickly. This apparently rather slow response is unfortunately true to form.”

“Antivirals are probably as important a part of our ultimate salvation from the pandemic as anything else, be it vaccines or non-pharmaceutical interventions, as the evidence we have suggests that they are extremely effective against serious diseases and death, which is obviously the focus of our coronavirus efforts. “

The future potential of antivirals was further enhanced last week, when a member of the team managing the monupiravir deployment trial revealed that the drug appeared to work against other viruses, including Mers and Sars. origin.

The government has defended its rollout of antivirals, pointing out that the UK was the first country in the world to approve molnupiravir for home use. He praised the “fast work” of the working group.

A spokesperson for the Department of Health and Social Affairs said: ‘The Antivirals Task Force has been launched to identify treatments for UK patients who have been exposed to Covid-19 to take away from hospitals – including at home – to stop the spread of infection and speed up recovery time. .

“The UK was the first country in the world to approve the vital antiviral molnupiravir for home use, and the task force’s rapid work to procure and deploy this treatment means it is already making a difference for hundreds. vulnerable people.

“It will continue to examine a number of other options, covering a range of different antiviral mechanisms, to ensure that as many people as possible can be protected against Covid-19, future variants and other future illnesses. “


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