Coronvirus: Drugs

Department of Health and Social Care written question – answered on 26th January 2022.

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Photo of Daisy Cooper Daisy Cooper Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Health and Social Care)

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many people are classed as severely clinically extremely vulnerable and eligible for covid-19 antiviral treatments; and how many of those people had been sent PCR testing kits as of 1 January 2021.

Photo of Maggie Throup Maggie Throup The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care

Since December 2021, National Health Service patients can access new COVID-19 therapies, including antivirals and monoclonal antibodies which can reduce the risk of becoming hospitalised.

In England, 1.3 million of the highest risk patients are eligible for antivirals directly. This cohort include patients at highest risk of hospitalisation and deterioration following a COVID-19 infection. Should they receive a positive polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test, they will be assessed by clinicians and offered antiviral or antibody treatments from a COVID Medicines Delivery Unit, if eligible.

Over 20 million people are eligible for antivirals through PANORAMIC, the national study run by the University of Oxford. However, this larger cohort will not receive priority PCR kits. This study is open to individuals living anywhere in the United Kingdom who receive a positive PCR test, are aged 50 years old and over, or are aged 18 to 49 years old with an underlying medical condition that can increase the risk of developing severe COVID-19. As of 1 January 2022, an estimated 1.1 million priority PCR kits have been distributed in England to patients in the highest risk group.

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