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National clinical trial sees Cornwall COVID-19 patients benefit from early rollout of antiviral drugs

Glyn, a PANORAMIC participant from Newquay in Cornwall

A COVID-positive patient from Cornwall has become one of the first people in the country to benefit from a new antiviral drug designed to help people recover sooner, and reduce the need for hospital admission.

Glyn from Newquay was invited to take part in the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR)-funded PANORAMIC trial by the team at Newquay Health Centre, after testing positive for COVID-19. PANORAMIC (Platform adaptive trial of novel antivirals for early treatment of COVID-19 In the Community) has been set up to rapidly assess a range of purpose-designed antiviral treatments that can be taken at home, and are intended for use in the early stages of infection.

The trial, being supported locally by the Clinical Research Network South West Peninsula (CRN SWP), aims to recruit more than 10,000 people across the country, with half randomly allocated to receive the antiviral treatment plus standard care, and half receiving standard care alone.

Thanks to the speed with which the team at Newquay Health Centre have set up the trial, supported by the CRN SWP’s Agile Research Delivery Team, people in Cornwall are among the first in the UK to benefit.

Glyn said: “I tested positive on Thursday and got the result on Friday morning, and I was called by the nurse the same morning. She ran through some questions to check my suitability, and find out how I was feeling, my symptoms and their severity.

“First thing on Saturday morning I received the study drugs and started taking them immediately. I had to take four capsules every 12 hours for five days. I’m also having to fill in a daily diary with similar questions to those asked by the nurse. It’s very straightforward, just five minutes a day.

“I spoke to the nurse again on Sunday to check I was OK, and you’re also given a number you can call if there are any problems or you’re worried about anything.

“Taking part in the trial has been a very positive experience.”

The trial is open to those 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.

Taking part is easy. Local people who receive a positive test for COVID-19 may be contacted to consider enrolling in the study. Anyone who meets the eligibility criteria can also sign up to take part in the study directly through the trial website:

All participants take part from their own homes, and those randomised to the group that receives an antiviral treatment will have their medicines sent directly to them.

PANORAMIC has been designed as a ‘platform clinical trial’, meaning it can rapidly evaluate several antiviral treatments, as and when they become available. The UK Antivirals Taskforce has selected all treatments to be tested. The first treatment to be investigated through the trial is molnupiravir (brand name, Lagevrio), which has already been licensed by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).

The results from this high priority national study will provide a clearer understanding of how antivirals work in the UK population, enabling the NHS to better plan how to make COVID-19 antivirals available for those who would benefit from them the most.