Treatments for coronavirus

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UPDATED: 29 June 2023

Some people may have received a letter from the NHS if their medical records currently show they might be suitable for treatment if they get coronavirus.

This letter has been sent before, but it has been updated because the Government has changed the way you test for coronavirus. From 1 April you should check coronavirus symptoms using lateral flow tests, not a PCR test.

This letter explains that:

  1. You should keep lateral flow tests at home
  2. You should take a test if you have coronavirus symptoms. Important: You must report your test result.
  3. If you test positive, the NHS will contact you about treatments.

The NHS is offering treatments to people with coronavirus (COVID-19) who are at the highest risk of becoming seriously ill.

The treatments available are:

Nirmatrelvir, ritonavir, remdesivir and molnupiravir are antiviral medicines.

Sotrovimab is a biological medicine also known as a neutralising monoclonal antibody (nMAb). Sotrovimab may be given to people if antiviral medicines are unsuitable for them to take.

These treatments can help some people manage their COVID-19 symptoms and reduce the risk of becoming seriously ill.

For more information visit the Treatments for coronavirus page on the NHS website or the following page: COVID-19: Guidance for people whose immune system means they are at higher risk. The process for accessing COVID treatment for people who are considered high risk has changed. Before, you were asked to contact your local COVID Medicines Delivery Unit (CMDU) for treatment within a few days of developing COVID symptoms. Now you are asked to contact your GP, healthcare team or ring 111 to access treatment (if you are at high risk you should receive a text message, email or letter explaining this).

An advisory group, supported by NHS England, has identified those people who are at the very highest risk of a bad outcome when getting COVID-19, namely hospitalisation and death. The recommendations are to support the use of approved medications for treatment or prophylaxis, but the group was tasked to focus on people in the community with clinically proven COVID-19.

The NHS is offering new monoclonal antibody and antiviral treatments to people with COVID-19 who are at highest risk of becoming seriously ill and are 12 years of age or above. Some treatments are suitable for people aged 12 to 17.

The list is regularly reviewed and currently includes the following people at the highest risk of catching COVID-19. People with:

  • Chromosomal disorders affecting the immune system, including Down’s syndrome
  • Certain types of cancer (usually blood cancer) or have received treatment for certain types of cancer (usually chemo or radiotherapy within the last 12 or 6 months)
  • Sickle cell disease
  • Certain conditions affecting their blood
  • Chronic kidney disease (CKD) stage 4 or 5
  • Severe liver disease
  • Had an organ transplant
  • Certain autoimmune or inflammatory conditions (such as rheumatoid arthritis or inflammatory bowel disease)
  • HIV or AIDS who have a weakened immune system
  • Inherited or acquired conditions affecting their immune system
  • Rare neurological conditions: multiple sclerosis, motor neurone disease, Huntington’s disease or myasthenia gravis.

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