New treatments for coronavirus
Vaccines and booster jabs are some of the most important ways to protect yourself against coronavirus this winter. In addition, the Government has announced that new treatment options for coronavirus are now available for eligible people.
These treatments are used in the earliest stages of an infection and are often taken at home. They should be given as soon as possible after someone has received a positive PCR test.
PANORAMIC oral antiviral study
Oral antivirals are now available in the community, through a new national study called PANORAMIC. The PANORAMIC national study aims to help gather data on how antivirals work in a highly vaccinated population. This will help the NHS develop plans for making antivirals available to the patients who would benefit from them the most.
People are eligible for PANORAMIC if they meet the following criteria:
- Have received a positive PCR test.
- Feel unwell with coronavirus symptoms that started in the last 5 days.
- Are aged 50+, or 18-49 years old with an underlying medical condition that can increase the chances of becoming severely ill from coronavirus.
The health conditions that make people eligible for the national study include:
- Chronic respiratory disease (including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), cystic fibrosis and asthma requiring at least daily use of preventative and/or reliever medication).
- Chronic heart or vascular disease.
- Chronic kidney disease.
- Chronic liver disease.
- Chronic neurological disease (including dementia, stroke, epilepsy).
- Severe and profound learning disability.
- Down's syndrome.
- Immunosuppression due to disease or treatment (eg sickle cell, HIV, cancer, chemotherapy).
- Solid organ, bone marrow, or stem cell transplant recipients.
- Morbid obesity (BMI over 35).
- Severe mental illness.
- Care home resident.
- Considered by recruiting clinician to be clinically vulnerable.
People who are eligible for this treatment may be contacted directly by a study team or a local healthcare professional (for example, your GP or a research nurse) to consider enrolling in the study. If you meet the eligibility criteria, you can also sign up on the study website.
High risk antiviral treatment ‘pre-notification’ letter
People who are in the highest risk group for coronavirus, and who receive a positive PCR test, will be able to access new treatments directly. If you’re eligible, you’ll get a ‘pre-notification’ letter or email.
You’ll also receive a PCR test to keep at home from NHS Test and Trace, so that if you do get symptoms of coronavirus and test positive, treatment can be given as soon as possible.
If you feel you may be eligible but haven’t received a letter, you can contact your GP or consultant to discuss whether you should be in the highest risk group. They will make an assessment of any conditions you have, and if they consider you to be eligible they'll give you a copy of the letter with further information on next steps.
The health conditions that make people eligible for treatments outside of the national study include:
- Down’s syndrome and other genetic disorders with reduced immune response
- sickle cell disease
- chemotherapy and radiotherapy patients, and those with a solid cancer
- patients with a haematologic malignancy
- kidney disease
- liver disease
- certain inflammatory disorders
- patients with a primary immune deficiency
- organ transplant recipients
- rare neurological conditions: multiple sclerosis, motor neurone disease, myasthenia gravis and Huntingdon’s disease.
Other kinds of treatments that may be offered
Ronapreve is a monoclonal antibody therapy that the UK’s medicines regulator (MHRA) authorised as a treatment for coronavirus on 20 August 2021. It’s currently available to coronavirus patients who are in hospital, but will now also be available to people in community settings, like community hospitals, health centres and walk-in clinics. This treatment is given by a medical professional, and is a single intravenous infusion (IV), sometimes called a drip, which means it goes straight into a person’s bloodstream.
Lagevrio (also known as molnupiravir) is an antiviral oral capsule. It was approved by the MHRA on 4 November 2021. It’s being made available through the PANORAMIC national study. This treatment should be taken within 5 days of symptoms beginning. The full course should be taken and patients should follow the prescribing clinician’s advice.