Doctors in the UK are set to have the latest option when it comes to treating the millions of people suffering from the deadly coronavirus.
Dr Robert Pankhurst, who heads the NHS UK’s coronavir control team, said that a new drug called VIRB-79 could be the most effective treatment for those people who have symptoms of the virus.
Dr Pankridge said: ‘We know there are people who are sick and there are treatments out there, but until now, there has been very little information about what those treatments might be.’
It’s very exciting that we have this drug which is designed to target those people with symptoms of coronavire, and I’m hoping that it will help to reduce the numbers of deaths.’
The drug was developed by Bristol-Myers Squibb and the University of Bristol’s VIRBI Research Group, with the support of the UK Government.
The drugs are designed to block the virus from entering the body.
Dr Chris O’Donnell, head of VIRBS research, said: ‘[The drug] is being developed to treat acute viral infection and chronic viral infections.’
The team is currently working on a second version of the drug.
Dr O’Dell said that if VIR-79 was approved, the UK could be looking at ‘the most potent and least expensive coronaviral vaccine ever developed’.
Dr Odo said: [The drug is] a combination of three different drugs.
We know that in the US we’ve been using two of those drugs together and the other is a different compound and that we will use both of them together.’
He said that the UK was one of the countries with the highest use of the drugs, with nearly 4.5 million doses in use.
The team hopes that by 2018, the drug could be used to treat at least 2 million patients.
Dr Niamh Maughan, a virologist at Imperial College London, said the UK is ‘well positioned’ to see this drug through to clinical trials.
She said: I think we have the right people who know what they are doing, who are passionate about it and they have the resources to do it.
I think there is a great opportunity here.
We have been in contact with a number of laboratories and I am hopeful that we can see the first trial results in the next couple of months.’
We’ve seen very promising results with the first treatment, so I think the next phase of development will be to see if we can get to the second phase.’
The new drug is being tested in the United States and is being considered a priority drug in the development of a vaccine for the coronavirock.
Dr Maughans team will use a combination approach to the development, testing and commercialisation of the treatment, which could potentially include trials in the coming years.
The drug will be approved in the U.K. in March 2018, and is expected to become available in 2020.