Matt Hancock hails 'biggest step forward' since coronavirus crisis began as he reveals new treatment trial

Tests of antiviral medication remdesivir to begin

Photo: PA

By Kate Forrester

27 May 2020

Health secretary Matt Hancock has described the trialling of a new treatment for coronavirus patients as "the biggest step forward since the crisis began".

The government's daily press conference on Tuesday heard that a select number of NHS patients are to begin taking antiviral medication remdesivir.

Hancock said the treatment had already yielded "promising early results", shortening recovery time by around four days.


"As you can understand we’ll be prioritising the use of this treatment where it will provide the greatest benefit," he told reporters.

"This is probably the biggest step forward in the treatment of coronavirus since the crisis began."

All patients receiving the treatment, already being trialled in other countries around the world, will be adults and adolescents hospitalised with "serious Covid-19 infection", the Department of Health said.

Hancock added: "These are very early steps. But we’re determined to support the science and back the projects that show promise. I’d like to thank the NHS, the MHRA, the devolved administrations, because this is UK-wide and Gilead, the pharmaceutical company for their work in making it happen.

"After all, it’s worth remembering that in the battle against this virus, we are all on the same side."

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