Royal Preston Hospital at the forefront of Covid 19 drug trials

Interim results of a study in America into the tablet molnupiravir - which was originally developed to treat influenza indicates that it halves the risk of hospitalisation or death as a result of Covid.

The findings are yet to be peer reviewed and approved by the regulator but the government is optimistic having secured a deal with two major drug firms to secure almost half a million doses. Some doses could be available as early as mid-November.

Dr Dennis Hadjiyiannakis, medical director for the Lancashire Clinical Research Facility, says the tablet could make Covid much more treatable.

The UK is now conducting its own trial in what would become the first oral antiviral treatment for Covid - and the Royal Preston Hospital is playing a major part in the process.

It is looking for at least 20 volunteers who would help establish the effectiveness of the drug, which needs to be administered in the early stages of the disease in order to work.

To take part in the trial, people need to be enrolled within five days of developing mild to moderate symptoms and subsequently testing positive for Covid.

They must be over 18, not on any other drug trial and, apart from having Covid, otherwise be in good health without any underlying conditions.

Pregnant women are not eligible to volunteer for the trial and both women and men who do sign up must agree to use contraception for up to three months after taking the medication.