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The first antiviral drug to treat patients with Covid-19 and trialled at LTH approved by UK medicines regulator

The first oral antiviral drug designed to treat patients with Covid-19 and trialled at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has been approved by the UK medicines regulator.

The Lancashire Clinical Research Facility, who are a partnership of the Trust were one of seven centres across the UK recruiting volunteers for the AGILE coronavirus drug testing initiative.

Last month, television cameras gained access to Royal Preston Hospital as the Trust became one of the first hospitals to administer the antiviral drug to patients with early onset Covid-19, but who had not been hospitalised, as part of the research trial.

Clinical trials showed the pill, which is given to vulnerable patients twice a day and was originally developed to treat flu, cut the risk of hospitalisation or death by about 50%.

Molnupirvair is the first oral antiviral medication for Covid-19 which can be taken by mouth rather than administered intravenously and should be taken as soon as possible after a positive Covid-19 test and within the first five days.

Speaking to ITV News, Dr Hadjiyiannakis, medical director for the Lancashire Clinical Research Facility, said: "It causes the virus to over mutate, cause more mutations in its genetic material and therefore kill itself."

But he warned that the antiviral is not an excuse for people not to get vaccinated.

"The battle against Covid-19 is multi-faceted and has to have vaccines, as well as these tablets, as well as some of the other medications that have been approved.”

The UK’s medicine regulator, MHRA, have authorised the pill for vulnerable people who have tested for positive Covid-19 and have at least one risk factor for developing severe illness, such as being over the age of 60, obesity, diabetes or heart disease.

The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) encourages patients and the public to be actively involved in all health research to help lead better research, clearer outcomes and faster uptake of new evidence.

You can find out more about the Lancashire Clinical Research Facility and how to take part in research here.

Watch the first glimpse of the antiviral drug being administered at Royal Preston HospitalFirst look at how a potential antiviral drug could help those most vulnerable to Covid | ITV News

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