The British government is launching a taskforce targeting the development of a pill for immediate treatment of early onset COVID-19—that is, the vast majority of the cases that involve mild-to moderate symptoms upon early positive test results. Set up by Health Secretary Matt Hancock and known as an “Anti-Virals Taskforce,” this reflects the British government’s recognition of what many doctors have been calling out for the past year—treatments for early onset, mild to moderate COVID-19. After all, in America for example, most of the $15+ billion of taxpayer dollars gone into Operation Warp Speed vaccine and therapy development have been overwhelmingly for vaccines and then advanced therapies, such as monoclonal antibodies, which are not designed for early treatment for the home resting patient. With an urgency, the UK is thinking along the lines of the effort associated with the vaccines involving massive, intense pushes in partnership with both AstraZeneca and Pfizer. This new task force will be tasked with “turning the latest research of anti-viral therapeutics into approved medical treatments for coronavirus within months.”
In the Anglo-influenced world—whether it be England or in the United States—public-private partnerships led to unprecedented advancement in vaccine development as America, of course, advanced vaccines via Operation Warp Speed, and in England, breakthroughs came via studies such as the Oxford RECOVERY trial. Now Secretary Hancock wants to replicate this effort in the world of antiviral targeting early onset, mild to moderate COVID-19—perhaps something TrialSite posits should have happened long ago on both sides of the Pond.
Organization of the Committee
A public sector group is now putting together a panel of experts and researchers to not only join the project but also participate in the forthcoming research endeavor. The team is led by Kate Bingham, a biologist turned venture capitalist who was instrumental representing the UK government in securing 357 million doses of vaccine from six different firms. While no taskforce members have been selected a particular rule preludes Ms. Bingham from joining such an effort again, reports the DailyMail.
Will they Include Generics?
What about generic drugs—will the taskforce consider? They should. Take ivermectin with over 40 clinical trials covered in multiple meta-analyses the data looks highly promising yet regulatory to health authority keeps declaring more data is needed. Doesn’t society need low cost, generic options. This would be the perfect opportunity to include ivermectin in a large government-backed research program.
Call to Action: TrialSite will monitor this effort and update the network.