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British Health Secretary says more patients with COVID-19 are needed for clinical trials

Published on 06/04/20 at 11:24am
Photo from Policy Exchange's event Executive Pay

Matt Hancock, the UK’s Health Secretary, has said that more patients with the COVID-19 coronavirus are need in clinical trials testing licensed drugs that could be effective in treating the virus.

Speaking at a government briefing, Hancock said: “We have established three national clinical trials covering each major stage of the disease: primary care, hospital care and critical care for the most seriously ill. 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 repurposed 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. The bigger the trials, the better the data and the faster we can roll out the treatments.”

Hancock also spoke about the outbreak deaths. He indicated that the pandemic could reach its peak on Easter Sunday, with about 1,000 deaths a day in the lead up. But he said this was still subject to how well people obeyed the lockdown.

At the weekend, many of the public could be seen enjoying the warm weather in crowded parks and riversides, prompting the government to say they may introduce stricter measures to enforce the lockdown.

Boris Johnson himself tested positive for coronavirus 10 days ago, and was moved to hospital last night due to persistent symptoms including a temperature.

Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick commented on Johnson’s hospitalisation and said: “He's been working extremely hard leading the government and being constantly updated. That's going to continue. I'm sure this is very frustrating for him, for somebody like Boris who wants to be hands on running the government from the front, but nonetheless he's still very much in charge of the government.”

In Johnson’s absence, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab will chair the government’s coronavirus meetings in his place.

Currently in the UK there have been 47,806 positive cases of patients with COVID-19 while 4,932 have died to due to the virus.

Conor Kavanagh

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