Coronavirus: Medical Treatments

Department of Health and Social Care written question – answered on 7th April 2020.

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Photo of Lord Roberts of Llandudno Lord Roberts of Llandudno Liberal Democrat

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the drugs being used in other countries to treat patients with COVID-19 successfully; and what progress has been made towards developing a vaccine.

Photo of Lord Bethell Lord Bethell The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care

Although several potential drugs for COVID-19 are being trialled around the world, few results have been reported yet, and we do not know if any could help save people who are already seriously ill when diagnosed.

The World Health Organization (WHO) along with several countries in Europe, including the United Kingdom, are coordinating an international trial of the most promising drugs which include the long-used antimalarial drugs chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine, a new antiviral drug called remdesivir and a combination of two HIV drugs called lopinavir and ritonavir. The HIV drugs will also be tested in combination with an antiviral called interferon beta.

The trial will focus on whether any of these drugs reduce mortality or the time patients are in hospital and whether patients receiving drugs require ventilation or an intensive care unit.

On 3 April, the Government also announcement that the world’s largest randomised clinical trial of potential coronavirus treatments is well underway in the UK as part of the race to find a treatment.

Scientific and medical advisers are already developing a new vaccine against the COVID-19, as they initiated vaccine development as soon as the genetic sequence of the novel coronavirus was released.

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