Vulnerable patients will now have access to new antiviral Covid-19 medication

Thousands of the country’s most vulnerable people will be able to access a new antiviral medication if they contract Covid-19. 

Using Pfizer’s PF-07321332+ritonavir reduces the relative risk of Covid-19-associated hospitalisation or death by 88% in those who received treatment within five days of symptoms appearing.

This is a significant development for those with compromised immune systems, for whom the vaccine can be less effective.

The antiviral molnupiravir and monoclonal antibody sotrovimab are already being deployed to the highest risk patients with nearly 10,000 patients being treated to date.

The government, through the Antivirals Taskforce, has procured 4.98 million courses of antivirals.

The PANORAMIC study is currently open and deploying the antiviral to patients. Anyone over the age of 50 or between 18 to 49 with certain underlying health conditions can sign up for the study as soon as they receive a positive PCR or lateral flow test result.

person in blue jacket holding white textile

Individuals need to be experiencing Covid-19 symptoms that began in the last five days to be eligible to enroll.

Further details on wider deployment – including potentially through the PANORAMIC study run by the University of Oxford and supported by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) – will be set out in due course.

Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid said: ‘Our pharmaceutical defences are crucial as we learn to live with COVID-19 and the UK is leading the way, especially when it comes to the use of cutting-edge antivirals.

‘This is an important milestone – especially as the antiviral has been shown in clinical trials to reduce the risk of hospitalisation or death for vulnerable patients by 88%, meaning potentially thousands of lives could be saved.

‘We will set out further details on access to the new antiviral soon – until then, anyone who is eligible who tests positive for COVID-19 and has symptoms should sign-up to the PANORAMIC trial for the chance to receive our other antiviral, molnupiravir.’



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