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Find out whether you are eligible for COVID-19 treatments or participation in a UK-wide antiviral study.

First published:
8 December 2021
Last updated:

NHS patients who are at greater risk from COVID-19 are eligible for new treatment options. 

Vaccinations remain of greatest importance to protect those most vulnerable.

COVID-19 treatments are a further measure alongside vaccinations. Current treatment options include oral antiviral medication Paxlovid and Lagevrio. There is also a neutralising monoclonal antibody treatment called Xevudy.

There are 2 ways in which you can receive antiviral treatments:

  • as part of your standard care if you are at highest risk of severe COVID-19 and extremely vulnerable
  • through a UK wide antiviral study called PANORAMIC.

COVID-19 treatment for people at highest risk of severe COVID-19  

Some people are at particularly high risk of severe COVID-19. This includes people with:

  • cancer
  • renal or liver disease
  • Down’s syndrome
  • sickle cell disease
  • people who have had a transplant
  • have HIV
  • have a rare neurological condition (such as multiple sclerosis, Huntington’s disease, motor neurone disease or myasthenia gravis)
  • or whose immune system is impaired

If you are in this group and you test positive for COVID-19 you may be eligible for treatments. This needs to start within 5 days of symptoms. Treatments help manage your symptoms and reduce the risk of you becoming unwell.

How to access treatment

If you have symptoms of COVID-19, the fastest way to get treatment is to use a lateral flow test and report the result online (gov.uk).

You can also call 119 between 8am and 6pm Monday to Friday, and between 9am and 1pm on Saturdays and Sundays (calls are free). Rydym yn croesawu galwadau’n Gymraeg / We welcome calls in Welsh.

You should keep a pack of lateral flow tests at home in case you develop symptoms.

You can order lateral flow tests online (gov.uk) or by calling 119. Rydym yn croesawu galwadau’n Gymraeg / We welcome calls in Welsh.

If you have COVID symptoms but your lateral flow test result is negative you should take a PCR test.

You can order a PCR test kit by calling 119. Instructions on how to complete your home PCR test.

If you have difficulty getting through to 119 to order a PCR kit then try calling back later and continue with daily lateral flow tests.

If you test positive for COVID-19, a healthcare professional may contact you. This could be by telephone or text message (SMS). They will arrange an appointment to decide whether treatment is suitable for you. 

Call 111 (NHS 111 Wales) if you have symptoms and have not been contacted within 48 hours of either:

  • receiving your PCR test result
  • reporting a positive lateral flow test result

Explain that you have tested positive for COVID-19 and may be eligible for antiviral treatment.

The call handler may offer a nurse assessment for your symptoms. They may refer you to the National Antiviral Service (NAVS) for an appointment. This is to decide whether treatment may be suitable for you. Further information about what happens after you test positive can be found on the National Antiviral Service website.

If you live in a care home

If you live in a care home and have symptoms of COVID-19, the fastest way to get treatment (if you are eligible) is to use a lateral flow test and report the result online (gov.uk). If you need help, a member of staff will be able to provide it.

At the same time, a member of staff should arrange for your health board to do a different type of test to see if you have another respiratory illness such as flu. 

People aged over 50 or over 18 with a health condition

You may be eligible to participate in the UK antiviral treatment study called PANORAMIC.

The PANORAMIC study looks into the use of antiviral tablets to:

  • reduce the severity of the virus
  • speed up recovery
  • avoid the need for treatments in hospital

The medication has already been approved by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). This study will provide more data on how antivirals work in a predominantly vaccinated population. It will inform decisions in the future.

To find out more visit the PANORAMIC study website or call 08081 560017(calls are free of charge).

More information about what to expect from the study and whether it is currently recruiting in Wales can be found on the Health and Care Research Wales website.

Other treatments

If you do not meet the criteria above, you may still be eligible to participate in a UK study of other COVID-19 treatments. This is through the PRINCIPLE study.

You may be eligible if:

  • you are aged 18 or over
  • you’ve had a positive COVID-19 test in the last 14 days
  • you’ve had COVID-19 symptoms for less than 14 days

If you meet all 3 criteria, go to the Principle study website.

Visiting people eligible for COVID-19 treatments

To help keep people eligible for COVID treatments safe, we are making free lateral flow tests available to your family, friends and carers. They can use them to test themselves before visiting you.

Your family, friends or carers can order lateral flow tests online (gov.uk) at or by calling 119.