Coronavirus Northern Ireland: Selected NHS patients to access ‘cutting-edge Covid-19 treatment’

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Wednesday, May 27th, 2020

Selected NHS coronavirus patients will soon be able to access treatment to speed up their recovery.

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Thanks to the joined-up efforts of the UK Government, the Devolved Administrations, a pharmaceutical company Gilead Sciences, the NHS, and the MHRA, the anti-viral drug remdesivir will be made available to patients meeting certain clinical criteria to support their recovery in hospital.

The drug is currently undergoing clinical trials around the world, including in the UK, with early data showing it can shorten the time to recovery by about 4 days.



The Early Access to Medicines Scheme (EAMS) and scientific opinion from the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) supports remdesivir to be used by selected NHS patients.

For the time being and due to limited supplies, treatment will be prioritised for patients who have the greatest likelihood of deriving the most benefit.

Speaking to Newry Times, Minister for Innovation Lord Bethell said, “This shows fantastic progress.

“As we navigate this unprecedented period, we must be on the front foot of the latest medical advancements, while always ensuring patient safety remains a top priority.

“The latest, expert scientific advice is at the heart of every decision we make, and we will continue to monitor remdesivir’s success in clinical trials across the country to ensure the best results for UK patients.”



Allocation of the drug will be based on expert clinical advice and will take into consideration the situation where it is most likely to provide the greatest benefit.

The UK Government continues to work closely with its partners across the Devolved Administrations, the health system and industry to ensure UK patients have the greatest possible chance of getting the latest, ground-breaking treatments as quickly as possible.

Dr June Raine, MHRA Chief Executive, said, “We are committed to ensuring that patients can have fast access to promising new treatments for COVID-19.

‘’We will continue to work closely with the Department of Health and Social Care and other healthcare partners on protecting public health in the UK by prioritising our essential work on clinical trials, access to medicines, and the development of vaccines.”



Hilary Hutton-Squire, Vice President and General Manager, Gilead Sciences UK and Ireland said, “We are delighted that the MHRA and the Commission on Human Medicines (CHM) have decided to issue remdesivir a positive Scientific Opinion within the Early Access to Medicines Scheme (EAMS).

“This decision reflects Gilead’s commitment to rapidly respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Treatment options in response to this global public health emergency are urgently needed and we are grateful to the UK government and the MHRA for their continued support and collaboration to make this medicine available to those patients who are most likely to benefit from it.

She added, “We will continue to work closely with the government to supply remdesivir across the UK.”


Keep up to date with all the latest Northern Ireland Coronavirus / Covid-19 news HERE


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