Matt Hancock has announced a new research drive into coronavirus treatments, as he appealed to volunteers to be part of the scheme. The health secretary said research on treatment for covid-19 was “essential to our plan” for tackling the epidemic and said the UK was carrying out world-leading trials. Speaking at a Downing Street press
The health secretary said research on treatment for covid-19 was “essential to our plan” for tackling the epidemic and said the UK was carrying out world-leading trials.
Speaking at a Downing Street press conference, he said: “There’s still a lot we don’t know about how to treat and potentially prevent covid-19. Research about treatments is absolutely central to our plan. The UK has a long tradition of being the best in the world in this science.
“We are bringing together some of the finest research minds in the country to design new trials and we’re delivering them at record pace.”
He said the UK had established three national clinical trials covering each major stage of the disease, including primary care, hospital care and critical care for the most seriously ill.
He continued: “Just like the Nightingale hospital, one of these was put together in just nine days which is breathtaking speed.
“These trials are looking at the effectiveness of existing drugs and steroids, re-purposed for treatment for covid-19.
“One of the trials, which is called recovery and deals in hospital care, is the largest of its kind in the world, with 926 patients involved.”
Mr Hancock said more patients were needed to volunteer to take part in the trials, saying the “bigger the trials, the better the data and the faster we can roll out the treatments”.
It comes after the latest government figures showed a further 684 people had died in the UK from covid-19, bringing the country’s death toll to 3,605.
The health secretary also gave an “instruction” for people to continue to stay at home this weekend, even if the weather improves. “We are set for warm weekend weather in some parts of the country,” he said.
“But the disease is still spreading and we absolutely cannot afford to relax the social distancing measures we have in place. We cannot relax our discipline now. If we do, people will die.
“I end with the advice we all know. This advice is not a request – it is an instruction. Stay at home, protect lives and then you will be doing your part.”