Vale of Clwyd MP Dr James Davies has commended the advancements that have been made in tackling coronavirus after recently questioning the UK Government’s Chief Medical Officer, Professor Chris Whitty, over improvements that could be made to the country’s response to the development of therapeutics in any future pandemics.
James raised the question during a recent joint oral evidence session of the UK Parliament’s Science and Technology Committee and Health and Social Care Committee on ‘Coronavirus: lessons learnt’.
“Professor Whitty, some moments ago you referred to the UK’s response in the development of therapeutics as extraordinary. What is your view as to how that could be improved further still, looking to future pandemics?”
He also questioned him over allegations earlier in the inquiry that there had been poor investment in platforms for developing new treatments, both in this country and worldwide.
In his response Professor Whitty said it is important to recognise the many achievements during this pandemic and said the numbers of people who are in studies in the UK are “quite extraordinary”.
With regards investment in platforms for developing new treatments, he referred to the “strong tradition of evidence-based medicine and people doing trials, and then paying attention to the results” in the UK, and told James “this has saved us from doing a large number of things in an ad hoc way with drugs that were either useless or even dangerous.”
Speaking afterwards, James said:
“It was encouraging to hear from Professor Whitty that we currently have 90,000 people under trial, and in total over 640,000 people are taking part in Covid studies of some sort or another in the UK. As he said that is an absolutely extraordinary achievement.
“He told me that one of the biggest reasons we have been able to respond so quickly is because UK Citizens have been extremely generous with their time, and have been prepared to take the slight risk of going into clinical trial with a new drug or vaccine because they wish to do that for society. I agree entirely with him that they are heroes of this pandemic and I for one thank them all.
“Whilst I appreciate we are in extremely challenging times due to the new variant of the virus, there is a lot for the UK to be proud of and we must not lose sight of all that has been achieved as we embark on difficult days and weeks ahead.”