Second ground-breaking antiviral to be deployed to country’s most vulnerable

  • PF-07321332+ritonavir will be made available to those with weakened immune systems from Thursday 10 February
  • Innovative treatment reduced the risk of hospitalisation or death by 88% in clinical trials
  • The UK has procured more antivirals per head than any other country in Europe with over 4.98m courses ordered so far

Thousands of the country’s most vulnerable will be able to access the UK’s second ground-breaking antiviral – Pfizer’s PF-07321332+ritonavir (Paxlovid®) – from Thursday 10 February, the government has announced today.

Those at highest risk who test positive for the virus – for example, people who are immunocompromised, cancer patients or those with Down’s Syndrome – could access PF-07321332+ritonavir directly. The antiviral molnupiravir and monoclonal antibody sotrovimab are already being deployed to the highest risk patients with nearly 10,000 patients being treated to date.

PF-07321332+ritonavir reduced the relative risk of COVID-19-associated hospitalisation or death by 88% in those who received treatment within five days of symptoms appearing – meaning it could potentially save thousands of lives and help to ease burdens on the NHS. This is a significant development for those with compromised immune systems, for whom the vaccine can be less effective.

The government, through the Antivirals Taskforce, has procured 4.98 million courses of antivirals – 2.75 million courses of PF-07321332+ritonavir and 2.23 million courses of molnupiravir – more per head than any other country in Europe.

The PANORAMIC study is currently open and deploying the antiviral molnupiravir to patients. Anyone over the age of 50 or between 18 to 49 with certain underlying health conditions can sign up to the study as soon as they receive a positive PCR or lateral flow test result. They need to be experiencing COVID-19 symptoms that began in the last five days to be eligible to enrol.

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