Monkeypox patients in NHS' world-first drug trial to speed up recovery | The Sun

MONKEYPOX patients in the NHS will trial the first ever drug to treat the disease.

Oxford University scientists who discovered life-saving Covid medications now plan to stamp out the viral skin infection.

There is currently no cure for monkeypox, which has infected 3,017 people in the UK since May.

Patients simply have to self-isolate and wait for it to heal, which can take weeks.

Infected Brits are now being offered the antiviral drug tecovirimat, which stops the virus from spreading inside the body by blocking it from breaking out of diseased cells.

Researchers hope the twice-daily pills will speed up recovery and reduce painful skin blisters and rashes, keeping patients out of hospital.

Trial leader Professor Sir Peter Horby said: “Monkeypox is a distressing and sometimes dangerous infection. 

“For the benefit of current and future patients worldwide, we need definitive evidence that tecovirimat is safe and effective.”

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The first patient joined the Platinum trial last Friday and is one of 500 who will be enrolled to compare the medicine to a placebo drug.

Monkeypox cases have been detected in at least 89 countries in this year’s global outbreak, which is the biggest in history.

The virus is spread by skin contact and almost all cases in Britain so far have been among gay and bisexual men.

As well as blisters, rashes and ulcers on the skin, mouth and genitals, symptoms include fever, tiredness and muscle aches.

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NHS clinics are rolling out smallpox vaccines to high-risk members of the public, with the jab proven to reduce the risk of disease.

But global vaccine supplies are low and there is still no treatment to speed up recovery for people who have already been infected.

Anyone diagnosed with monkeypox can join the trial and will be sent two weeks’ worth of 600mg tecovirimat pills to take at home while they self-isolate.

If tests are successful, tecovirimat, also known as TPOXX, will be the world’s first proven  monkeypox treatment.

Prof Horby and Prof Landray were both knighted last year for running the Recovery trial, which was the largest Covid treatment trial in the world.

They discovered that the cheap and widely available steroid dexamethasone could slash the risk of dying of Covid by a third for hospital patients.

Public health minister Maggie Throup MP said: “This government-funded study is an important step to finding a treatment which can help speed up the recovery of those who have monkeypox. 

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“Led by the same experts behind the world-leading Covid-19 Recovery trial, this new monkeypox treatment trial will test the effectiveness of the antiviral tecovirimat in fighting the disease. 

“Vaccines remain our best defence against the spread of monkeypox – we urge all those eligible to come forward when contacted, and report any symptoms to NHS 111.”

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