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Case study: Reducing Covid-19 hospital admissions with antiviral research

Warwick GP Practice offers Covid treatment to patients

A GP practice in Warwick is among those offering antiviral treatments to patients in the world’s largest community-based Covid-19 research study.

Research Co-Ordinator Georgina Stannard (pictured, right with GP Dr Ruth Penfold), of Budbrooke Medical Practice talks about their involvement in the Platform Adaptive trial of NOvel antiviRals for eArly treatMent of COVID-19 In the Community PANORAMIC Trial   which is  investigating several potential COVID-19 treatments to help people possibly recover more quickly at home.  

Since January 2022, they have signed up 119 of their patients to the study, across five GP Practices in the group, of which Budbrooke is the Hub.

“We thought the study offered a really good opportunity to offer these treatments to our patients and many were very keen,” says Georgina.  “We mostly contacted relevant patients after carrying out searches to identify Covid-19 cases, but quite a few asked us about taking part.

‘We had been research active previously including the PRINCIPLE trial, which was similar, and the DARE2THiNK study which involves patients with atrial fibrillation.  The team at the Clinical Research Network West Midlands has been really supportive throughout - their nurses are really prompt at answering queries and efficient in helping with the searches and carrying out safety checks.

“We have over 25,000 patients registered to our practices, so that gives us access to a large pool of potential participants, although obviously it’s only those with confirmed Covid-19 who can be approached.  

“Everyone has been pretty positive about it when asked to take part. And even those who were randomised to the arm of the trial not receiving the antivirals were happy to help.

“It’s been really worthwhile for us to contribute to this trial - we are doing something proactive to help combat the virus, and our patients are being offered access to treatments they wouldn’t otherwise get.

‘Our confidence in what our partnership can achieve in Primary Care research  has really been boosted and we are now in set up for a new arm of the trial involving the drug Paxlovid.”

Practice Manager Sarah Davies added: “ We have also been highly proactive in other Covid studies, for example virology sampling, so we could offer patients PCR testing prior to this being offered nationally,  and looking for other influenzas, as well as providing Oxford University samples to test for a range of Covid related studies. 

“We really embrace and value being part of our research group and being supported by the CRN West Midlands.” 

About the Trial

A  lot of research has focussed on finding treatments for those already sick enough to be admitted to hospital.   

PANORAMIC aims to find out if new antiviral treatments help those with COVID-19 in the community prevents the need for being admitted to hospital and helps people recover quicker.

Those consenting to be part of the study will be randomly selected to either be in a group who receives a course of an antiviral treatment, or a group that doesn’t.

Two different groups are needed so the study team can see any difference in the health of those who received the antiviral treatment compared to those who didn’t.

This information  will help the NHS to develop plans for how to best make new antiviral  treatments available to patients who would benefit most from this treatment.