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Ground-breaking COVID-19 antiviral treatment trial opens to recruitment in the North East and North Cumbria


Local GPs and healthcare professionals have begun enrolling participants across North East and North Cumbria to a first-of-its-kind clinical trial investigating the effectiveness of new oral antiviral treatments for COVID-19,which can be safely taken at home.

The Platform Adaptive trial of NOvel antiviRals for eArly treatMent of covid-19 In the Community (PANORAMIC) trial will rapidly assess a range of purpose-designed antiviral treatments which could help clinically vulnerable people with COVID-19 in the community recover sooner, prevent the need for hospital admission and ease the burden on the NHS.

Local people who receive a positive PCR test for COVID-19 will be contacted by the trial team or a local healthcare professional, such as a GP or a research nurse, to consider enrolling in the study. Alternatively, anyone who meets the eligibility criteria can also sign up to take part in the study directly through the trial website:

People can join the study if they are aged 50 and over, or between 18 to 49 years with underlying health conditions that make them clinically more vulnerable. All participants also need to have had a positive COVID-19 test and be within five days of the onset of symptoms.

All participants take part from their own homes without needing to visit a clinic or hospital. Participants randomised to the group that receives an antiviral treatment will have their medicines sent directly to their homes by courier. Participants will keep a daily diary for 28 days through the PANORAMIC website or receive a phone call from the trial team on days seven, 14 and 28 to speak about their symptoms and any NHS care they have needed.

The PANORAMIC study brings together GP practices, NHS 111, Test and Trace, care homes, pharmacies and other NHS and social care service providers from the North East and North Cumbria and right across the UK - who will actively identify potential participants, invite them to take part and support their participation.

The first treatment to be investigated through the trial will be molnupiravir (brand name, Lagevrio),a COVID antiviral pill  which has already been licensed by the MHRA.

The study aims to provide a clearer understanding of how antivirals work in the UK, a country which has a high vaccination rate. It is hoped the study outcomes will help the NHS to plan how to make antivirals available for people who would benefit from them the most.

Professor Caroline Wroe, Clinical Director for NIHR Clinical Research Network North East and North Cumbria said: “It’s vital that we continue to deliver COVID-19 research and the PANORAMIC study offers people who test positive the opportunity to play a further part in the fight against COVID-19.”

Dr Yusuf Soni, a GP from Riverside Medical Group in Stockton said: “It’s vital that as many people as possible who are at higher risk from complications of COVID-19 join the trial.”

Dr James Lunn, a GP from Forest Hall Medical Group in Newcastle 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. This new trial will test whether exciting, new antiviral treatments that are more specific to COVID-19 help people in the community recover faster and reduce the need for treatment in hospital.”

Professor Nick Lemoine, Medical Director of the National Institute for Health Research Clinical Research Network said: “When taken in the earliest stages of infection, these ground-breaking, purpose-designed, COVID-19 antiviral treatments hold the potential to greatly improve outcomes for patients most at risk from the disease. As orally-administered treatments, designed to be taken at home soon after the onset of symptoms, the drugs work by disrupting and preventing the virus from multiplying inside the body.

“Earlier trials have shown these new antivirals to be safe and effective in treating COVID-19. However more data is needed on how well they work in populations that are largely vaccinated - as we have in the UK. The PANORAMIC trial will rapidly generate the additional evidence needed for the NHS to roll out this exciting new generation of COVID-19 treatments, as quickly and safely as possible. But to do that, we need your help.

“If you have a PCR-confirmed COVID-19 test, are within 5 days of symptom onset - and meet the study eligibility criteria - we urge you to volunteer for this pivotal study. Participants take part from the comfort of their own homes and there is no need to visit a clinic or hospital. Visit the PANORAMIC website to sign up, or speak to your GP or healthcare professional about taking part.”

PANORAMIC is funded by the National Institute for Health Research, led by Oxford University’s Primary Care Clinical Trials Unit, while delivery of the trial is supported by the NIHR Clinical Research Network.

For further information, please visit:


Notes to editors

Dr James Lunn, a GP from Forest Hall Medical Group in Newcastle is available at Garden Park Surgery in Howdon for interview on Thursday 16 December between 2-4pm.

Dr Yusuf Soni, a GP from Riverside Medical Practice in Stockton is available for interview on Thursday 16 December between 4.30-6pm.

Interviews can be conducted in person, over the phone or virtually.

For all media enquiries and to book a media interview please contact Alex Rodger, Communications Officer on 07708509467 or