The government announced this month that thousands of the UK’s most vulnerable people will be among the first in the world to access a new antiviral treatment for Covid-19, Molnupiravir. This will take the form of pilot prescribing antivirals to vulnerable people who have caught Covid-19 and a study combining providing antivirals and placebos to healthier people. The Government press release announcing these can be read here.
NHS antiviral prescribing for vulnerable patients
The NHS has confirmed that it will begin offering Molnupiravir from 16 December, to patients who are at the highest risk of becoming seriously ill with coronavirus. Those eligible must be over 12 years old and live with a condition that makes Covid-19 especially dangerous, such as Down’s Syndrome or certain types of cancer. If the NHS considers the antiviral treatment appropriate for an individual, a hospital pharmacy will arrange for the medicine to be delivered to your home. Molnupiravir is administered in capsules to be swallowed.
The full list of eligible patients and more details for the public can be read here. Eligibility closely corresponds to the shielding list criteria used earlier in the pandemic. Further information from the MHRA can be accessed here.
Study of antiviral use in healthy patients
Separately, the University of Oxford, in close collaboration with GP hubs, has launched a national study called PANORAMIC, which will provide 10,000 people with the opportunity to take Molnupiravir at home after testing positive. To participate in the study, individuals must be aged 50 or over or have a pre-existing health condition. 215 participants have currently been recruited across 21 NHS sites across the UK. If eligible, individuals who have tested positive will be contacted by the study team or a local healthcare professional, such as their GP. People can also find out if they meet the requirements at www.panoramictrial.org.