As of this morning - Wednesday April 2 - the current recorded case count for COVID-19 (coronavirus) in the UK has hit 29,474, with 2,352 deaths.

Gilead Sciences has initiated two Phase III randomised studies to assess the safety and efficacy of its investigational therapy remdesivir in patients with moderate to severe COVID-19 (coronavirus).

The two studies – which have been given urgent public health research (UPHR) status by the Chief Medical Office – will initially involve 15 centres in the UK.

Remdesivir is an investigational nucleotide analog with broad-spectrum antiviral activity demonstrated both in vitro and in animal models against multiple emerging viral pathogens including Marburg, MERS, SARS, and more recently Ebola.

It is not approved anywhere globally and has not been demonstrated to be safe or effective for any use.

“Gilead started research into remdesivir more than a decade ago. We are now in a position to consider its potential to treat COVID-19 and rapidly progress its development, and these clinical trials will help generate important data on the safety and efficacy of the medication in the coming weeks,” said Hilary Hutton-Squire, vice president and general manager, Gilead Sciences UK & Ireland.

“Gilead is supporting clinical trials of remdesivir around the world, and we are grateful to the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) and the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) for their support in getting these trials off the ground with such speed in the UK.”

Wash your hands frequently:

Regularly and thoroughly clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water.

Maintain social distancing:

Maintain at least two metres (six feet) distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing.

If you have fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical care early:

Stay home if you feel unwell. If you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical attention and call in advance. Follow the directions of your local health authority.