Adults over the age of 50 and people with underlying health problems who get Covid-19 are being urged to join a trial testing antiviral drugs.
Officials have said that antiviral drugs – which can help alleviate symptoms and prevent people from becoming seriously ill – are part of the package that will help the country return back to a normal life.
Researchers are examining how the drugs can be delivered in the NHS and which patients will benefit the most.
2,000 people have signed up to @UniofOxford's PANORAMIC study - which is rolling out the game-changing antiviral treatment molnupiravir to vulnerable patients who test positive for COVID-19.
The UK has ordered almost 5 million courses of cutting-edge antivirals.
— Sajid Javid (@sajidjavid) January 5, 2022
Experts from the University of Oxford hope to recruit an additional 6,000 patients on top of the 4,500 who have already signed up to take part in the Panoramic trial.
The treatment being used in the trial, molnupiravir, has already been approved by the UK medical regulator.
Anyone over the age of 50 or between 18 to 49 with an underlying health condition that puts them at higher risk of Covid-19 can sign up to the study as soon as they receive a positive PCR or lateral flow test result.
Health Secretary Sajid Javid said: “The vaccines are critical as a first line of defence, but antivirals form a vital part of our approach as we learn to live with Covid by preventing the most vulnerable from being hospitalised.
“If you’re eligible, please step forward for the Panoramic trial and play your part in a vital mission – helping us to learn more about medicines which could save thousands of lives.”
The call for more participants is being backed by charities including Kidney Care UK, Cystic Fibrosis Trust, Diabetes UK and the British Liver Trust.
– People can sign up to take part in the trial by visiting: panoramictrial.org/