New antibody treatments available for immunosuppressed patients

From the 16th December high risk patients (severely immunosuppressed) who have tested positive for COVID-19 and have onset of symptoms in the last 7 days will be able to access new COVID treatments.

Am I eligible?

Patients must meet ALL of the following eligibility criteria:

  • A positive PCR test within the last 72 hours
  • Onset of symptoms of COVID-19 within the last 7 days
  • A member of a ‘highest’ risk group 

You may be at highest risk of getting seriously ill from COVID-19 if you have:

  • Down’s syndrome
  • sickle cell disease
  • HIV or AIDS
  • chronic kidney disease (CKD) stage 4 or 5
  • certain types of cancer
  • had certain types of chemotherapy in the last 12 months
  • had radiotherapy in the last 6 months
  • had an organ transplant
  • a severe liver condition (such as cirrhosis)
  • a rare condition affecting the brain or nerves (multiple sclerosis, motor neurone disease, Huntington’s disease or myasthenia gravis)
  • certain autoimmune or inflammatory conditions (such as rheumatoid arthritis or inflammatory bowel disease)
  • a condition or treatment that makes you more likely to get infections

Eligible patients will be informed by letter or email if they have a condition that may make them eligible to receive these treatments directly, should they test positive. Patients have been advised to contact their consultant or GP if they have not received a letter and believe themselves to be eligible. GPs and Consultants are asked to make an assessment on their eligibility, and if determined they are eligible, to issue them with a copy of the letter. 

Following a clinical assessment by a clinician from a COVID Medicines Delivery Unit (CMDU) the following types of treatments may be offered to patients: sotrovimab (Xevudy) and molnupiravir (Lagevrio).

PANORAMIC study

On 8 December, the UK Government announced that it has made available new COVID-19 treatment options for eligible groups of people through a new study called PANORAMIC (Platform Adaptive trial of Novel antiviRals for eArly treatment of COVID-19 In the Community).

The trial is being sponsored by Oxford University and will be used to study the efficacy of managing COVID-19 in around 10,000 vaccinated or unvaccinated individuals throughout the community, via treatment with antivirals.

Eligible patients will be contacted by the study team or a local healthcare professional (e.g. a GP or a research nurse) about enrolling in the study, or they can sign up directly at the study website: www.panoramictrial.org.

What does the trial involve?

Trial participants will be split into two groups, each of whom will be offered standard NHS COVID-19 care, with one group also receiving the treatment being tested. Currently (December 2021) this treatment is the antiviral Molnupiravir.

Allocation into one group or another will largely be randomised however individuals with the most severe health risks from COVID-19 who are least likely to benefit from vaccination, are exceptions and rather than being randomly assigned treatment they will be offered the antiviral. 

Once involved in the trial, participants will be asked to either complete a daily diary for the 28 days of treatment, or alternatively to receive a phone call on days 7, 14 and 28 from the trial teams to discuss your symptoms.

What treatments are being tested?

Lageviro (or Molunpiravir), is an oral antiviral, given in the form of a tablet which should be taken twice a day. This treatment reduces the risk of hospitalisation or death in non-hospitalised and at risk adults by at least 30%, and works by introducing mistakes into the viruses genetic code which ultimately kill it.

What does this mean for ‘high risk’ patients?

For those at the highest risk from COVID-19, Molnupiravir is accessible even if they are not taking part in PANORAMIC. Sotrovimab will be available to these individuals from the 20th December.

As more treatments are added to the PANORAMIC trial, and become available to those who are most at risk from the virus, and least protected by the vaccine, RAIRDA will keep updating our COVID-19 information with the latest news.