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ALMOST 1,000 Covid-19 patients have enrolled in clinical trials aimed at finding a treatment for the virus, Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced yesterday.
At the daily Downing Street press conference, Mr Hancock said that Britain was carrying out world-leading trials and that the research was “essential to our plan” for tackling the pandemic.
He added: “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.”
England’s deputy chief medical officer Jonathan Van-Tam said more people were needed, and that doctors in charge of care will be approaching more patients to request their “informed written consent” to take part.
The initial focus was on repurposing drugs such as those used to treat malaria and HIV, but researchers are also determined to find new medicines, Mr Van-Tam added.
However, he said it could take months for the results of the trials to become known, depending on how fast more patients can be recruited.
People must stay at home and observe social distancing measures this weekend during expected sunny weather, Mr Hancock insisted.
Yesterday, the number of cases in the UK stood at 38,168, up by 4,244 since Thursday, and the death toll hit 3,605 after increasing by 684 in 24 hours. It was the highest daily increase yet and means Britain’s death toll has now exceeded China’s.
Mr Hancock said: “We absolutely cannot afford to relax the social distancing measures we have in place. If we do people will die.
“This advice is not a request, it is an instruction. Stay at home. Protect lives. And you will be doing your part.”
Meanwhile, two nurses in their thirties, Areema Nasreen and Aimee O’Rourke, who each had three children, have died, as have two healthcare assistants.
At the press conference, England’s chief nursing officer Ruth May urged members of the public not to give in to the temptation to go outside, adding: “Please, I ask you to remember Aimee and Areema.”
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