1. ITV Report

Trials of a drug that could help treat coronavirus are to take place at NHS centres in the North West

Credit: PA

Patients at five NHS centres in the North West are to take part in trials of a drugs that could help treat coronavirus.

Manufactured by pharmaceutical company Gilead, the drug Remdesivir is one of many being tested across the world as a treatment for Covid-19.

The trials have been fast-tracked and will take place in 15 NHS centres.

Remdesivir is a broad-spectrum antiviral agent that has been demonstrated in animal models against multiple emerging viral pathogens including Mers and Sars, which are also coronaviruses.

The North West centres are Liverpool University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Manchester Royal Infirmary, Wythenshawe Hospital, the Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust and Royal Lancaster Infirmary.

"Gilead started research into Remdesivir more than a decade ago.

"We are now in a position to consider its potential to treat Covid-19 and rapidly progress its development, and these clinical trials will help generate important data on the safety and efficacy of the medication in the coming weeks."

– Hilary Hutton-Squire, Gilead
Credit: Yichuan Cao/SIPA USA/PA Images

Remdesivir is an investigational agent and is not approved anywhere globally.

It has not been demonstrated to be safe or effective for any use.

"Given that a Sars-CoV2 vaccine may require several months to develop and scale up, an effective antiviral therapy has tremendous potential to lessen the severity of Covid-19 in the short to medium term.

"Thus, despite the need for intravenous administration, use of this agent in a hospital setting could have a profound impact upon the ability of healthcare systems to cope with this extraordinary pandemic."

– Dr Stephen Griffin, Leeds Institute of Medical Research

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