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Antiviral treatment Paxlovid investigated in Yorkshire and Humber through PANORAMIC

The NIHR-supported PANORAMIC trial has today begun assessing a new oral COVID-19 antiviral treatment, Paxlovid, among vulnerable groups in the community. 

PANORAMIC is a nationwide platform study, set up to rapidly investigate a range of new COVID-19 antiviral treatments that can be taken at home, in the early stages of infection, to help people recover more quickly and reduce the risk of serious illness from the virus.

In just over three months, more than 23,000 patients have enrolled in the study for a chance to access molnupiravir, the first antiviral to be made available.

The introduction of Paxlovid will allow a further 17,500 patients to enrol for a chance of accessing this groundbreaking treatment, which has been shown to reduce the risk of death or hospitalisation by 88% in clinical trials of unvaccinated people who have COVID.

The study is open to adults over the age of 50 or those aged 18 to 49 with an underlying health condition that can increase the risk of developing severe COVID, who have received a positive COVID test result, and who are experiencing symptoms that started in the previous five days.

The study is UK wide, although initially recruitment into the Paxlovid arm will only be available for patients who are registered with the general practices that are taking part in the PANORAMIC Trial. The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) is working with counterparts in the devolved administrations to develop plans for how this arm could be started in all four nations in due course.

About Paxlovid

Paxlovid - an oral COVID-19 antiviral pill - has already received conditional marketing authorisation from the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), following an assessment of evidence from earlier studies which showed the drug to be effective in the treatment of COVID-19. Paxlovid is already being rolled out outside of the PANORAMIC study to those at highest risk who test positive for the virus directly through the NHS – including those who are immunocompromised, cancer patients or those with Down’s syndrome.

Antivirals are treatments used to either treat those who are infected with a virus or protect exposed individuals from becoming infected. Whilst vaccines remain the most important first line of defence, antivirals target the virus at an early stage, with the aim of preventing progression to more severe, or even critical, symptoms.

The PANORAMIC study makes antivirals available to a large number of patients, whilst collecting further data on how the antivirals work where the majority of the adult population is vaccinated. This will help the NHS to develop plans for rolling out the antivirals to further patients later this year. Those who enrol in the study will be randomly allocated to receive either an antiviral treatment in addition to standard NHS care, or standard NHS care only.

Professor Nick Lemoine CBE, National Institute for Health and Care Research said:

“The addition of Paxlovid into the NIHR-supported PANORAMIC trial represents an exciting development. While smaller-scale studies have already shown this new antiviral treatment to be highly effective against COVID-19 in the early stages of infection, additional evidence from much larger cohorts is needed to enable clinicians to make best use of these exciting new treatments. With over 23,000 participants having taken part in PANORAMIC so far - making it the world’s largest platform trial into new COVID-19 antiviral treatments - collectively the UK is providing vital data which will enable rapid deployment and best use of these new potentially life-saving treatments to patients who will benefit from them the most.”

Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid said:

“As we learn to live with Covid, the UK is leading the way in the use of cutting-edge treatments which have saved the lives of the country’s most vulnerable patients.

“If you’re aged 50 and over or have an underlying health condition and test positive for COVID, I urge you to find out if you are able to join the trial as soon as you can.

Professor Chris Butler, Chief Investigator, University of Oxford said:

“It is early on in the illness, when people are still being cared for in the community, that treatments for COVID-19 could have their greatest benefit. The PANORAMIC trial is testing whether novel, promising antiviral treatments help people suffering from COVID in the community recover faster and reduce the need for treatment in hospital.  It is critically important that new treatments are tested in people and in the situation where they are intended to be used; joining the PANORAMIC Trial will help ensure people with COVID, and indeed the NHS, get the maximum benefit from these precious treatments.”