elderly man taking medication

UK public urged to sign up to antiviral pill trial

Earlier this month Welsh residents who fit a certain criteria became part of a trial for the new Covid anti-viral tablets.

The study has since been opened up to the rest of the UK with anyone over the age of 50 and younger adults with underlying health conditions being urged to take part in the study.

The pills will be sent to the participants home address and findings will help to decide how the antiviral drug will be used going forward.

The Molnupiravir pill, made by Merck, was first licensed back in November 2021 by UK regulators after initial trials showed positive effects on the symptoms and illness in those who caught Covid.

The larger scale trial needs 6,000 participants but currently only has received 4,500 since it launched in December.

When the antiviral pill first launched, Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid said: “The UK is leading the way to research, develop and roll out the most exciting, cutting-edge treatments, and my thanks goes to the expert teams at the MHRA and MSD for this triumph, as well as the Antivirals Taskforce who have procured the treatment.

“We are working at pace across the government and with the NHS to set out plans to deploy molnupiravir to patients through a national study as soon as possible

“This antiviral will be an excellent addition to our armoury against COVID-19, and it remains vital everyone comes forward for their life-saving COVID-19 vaccine - particularly those eligible for a booster - to ensure as many people as possible are protected over the coming months.”

People with the following health conditions have been urged to participate:

  • chronic respiratory disease (including COPD, cystic fibrosis and asthma
  • chronic heart or vascular disease 
  • chronic liver disease
  • chronic neurological disease (including dementia, stroke, epilepsy) 
  • severe and profound learning disability 
  • Down's syndrome
  • Type-1 or Type-2 diabetes
  • morbid obesity (body mass index (BMI) over 35) 
  • severe mental illness 
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