This site is intended for healthcare professionals only

New drug for COVID patients is the ‘biggest step forward’ says Health Secretary

Written by: | Published:

Matt Hancock Health Secretary Matt Hancock has hailed remdesivir as the biggest step forward in the treatment of coronavirus since the crisis began'

A drug which is said to cut the recovery time of patients with COVID-19 is to be made available in limited quantities on the NHS, Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced yesterday. Originally developed for the the treatment of ebola, remdesivir has been shown to cut recovery time in hospital from 15 to 11 days, and is already in use in the US and Japan. Annpincing the news at Tuesday’s COVID briefing Mr Hancock described the drug as 'Probably the biggest step forward in the treatment of coronavirus since the crisis began.'

Remdesivir, which is made by the US company Gilead Sciences, is to be made available through the Early Access to Medicines scheme which allows medicines to be prescribed before they have been officially licensed. Not all patients will be eligible for the drug initially, due to research still going on into its efficacy, and limited stocks.

Experts have given the news a cautious welcome. Dr Stephen Griffin of the University of Leeds Medical School told the BBC: ‘We ought not to expect the drug to immediately act as a magic bullet.

‘We can instead hope for improved recovery rates and a reduction in patient mortality, which we hope will benefit as many patients as possible.’

Testing of another drug, an anti-malarial called hydroxychloroquine much trumpeted by President Trump, has been halted by the WHO over safety fears. A paper published in the Lancet last week showed people taking it were at higher risk of death and heart problems.

What do you think? Leave a comment below or tweet your views to @IndyNurseMag

This material is protected by MA Healthcare Ltd copyright.
See Terms and Conditions.



Please view our Terms and Conditions before leaving a comment.

Change the CAPTCHA codeSpeak the CAPTCHA code

Read a free issue from Practice Nursing

Register to read a free issue from our sister publication, Practice Nursing.

Including articles on asthma, diabetes and more. Read your copy.


Sign up to the newsletter


Independent Nurse is the professional resource for primary care and community nurses, providing clinical articles for practice nurses and prescribers.


Subscribe to our newsletter and stay up to date with the latest nursing news.

Stay Connected

Stay social with Independent Nurse by following us on Twitter, liking us on Facebook or connecting on LinkedIn.


Need access to some of our older articles? You can view our archive, or alternatively contact us.

Contact Us

MA Healthcare Ltd.
St Jude's Church, Dulwich Road
London, SE24 0PB

Tel: +44 (0)20 7738 5454
Registered in England and Wales No. 01878373

Meet the team


Find out how to contribute to Independent Nurse here.