Coronavirus: Brits 'to be asked' to volunteer for COVID-19 clinical trials

Joe Gamp
Contributor, Yahoo News UK
926 people have volunteered to take part in clinical COVID-19 trials - but England’s deputy chief medical officer said more people were needed. (AP)

More people are needed to step forward and take part in “essential” clinical trials on coronavirus treatments, a top health official has said.

So far, 926 people have volunteered to take part in COVID-19 tests - but England’s deputy chief medical officer said more people were needed.

Professor Jonathan Van-Tam said doctors and physicians would approach suitable coronavirus patients about taking part in further clinical trials in the UK.

Speaking at Friday’s Number 10 press conference, he said: “This is about patients who are undergoing treatment at some stage for COVID-19.

Screen grab of Deputy Chief Medical Officer Professor, Jonathan Van-Tam speaking during a media briefing in Downing Street, London, on coronavirus (COVID-19).

“First of all, we need the physicians in charge of their care to sign up for the clinical trial.

“Then it is up to the physician to approach the patient and ask them if they would like to take part.

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“It is a process of very careful written informed consent for that to happen.

Screen grab of Health Secretary Matt Hancock speaking during a media briefing in Downing Street, London, on coronavirus (COVID-19).

“The straight answer is yes, we do need people to take part in the clinical trials and they are doing.”

Read more: Coronavirus: Loss of taste and smell 'will not be added' to list of COVID-19 symptoms

Van Tam also said he expects it will be a few months before results are achieved through clinical trials.

"I know that there will be a question about when are we going to get some results from these clinical trials,” he continued.

"And my straight answer to you is I don't know. I think it's going to be a few months but it will all depend on how quickly patients are recruited into the trials across the NHS.

Read more: Coronavirus: UK death toll rises by 684 in biggest daily increase yet to 3,605

"The faster we go in getting bigger numbers in the trials, the clearer and more emphatic and more granular signals we will get about what works and who it works for."


Also during Friday’s briefing, Van-Tam said there was no plan to add loss of taste and smell to the list of symptoms people should watch for.

The advice comes despite health secretary Matt Hancock becoming one of many people to report suffering from a loss of taste and smell after contracting the virus.

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