Covid antiviral treatment trial starts in the East of England

A ground-breaking Covid trial is enrolling participants from across the region to investigate the effectiveness of new oral antiviral treatments, which can be safely taken at home.

green pill among a sea of red pills

The PANORAMIC trial will rapidly assess a range of purpose-designed antiviral treatments which could help clinically vulnerable people with Covid in the community recover sooner, prevent the need for hospital admission and ease the burden on the NHS. 

[[{"fid":"296710","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","alignment":"","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"Dr Serge Engamba","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":"Dr Serge Engamba"},"link_text":false,"type":"media","field_deltas":{"1":{"format":"default","alignment":"","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"Dr Serge Engamba","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":"Dr Serge Engamba"}},"attributes":{"alt":"Dr Serge Engamba","title":"Dr Serge Engamba","style":"float: right;","class":"media-element file-default","data-delta":"1"}}]]These new antiviral treatments are intended for use in the very early stages of infection, by people in the community with Covid who are at higher risk of complications. 

Local people can join the study if they are aged 50 and over, or between 18 to 49 years with underlying health conditions that make them clinically more vulnerable.

All participants also need to have had a positive Covid test and be within five days of the onset of symptoms.

"The PANORAMIC trial is essential in finding new treatments which can combat the virus directly, giving those most vulnerable an additional chance to avoid hospital admissions and life-threatening symptoms," said Dr Serge Engamba (pictured), Principal Investigator for the PANORAMIC trial and Primary Care Lead for the NIHR’s Clinical Research Network Eastern.

He added: "Its innovative approach may mean that new life-saving treatments are quickly identified and can be made available in the community."

To enable the benefit of each treatment to be compared against standard care - a total of 10,600 volunteers are needed to take part in each arm of the study.

Half of the participants will be randomly allocated to receive the antiviral treatment plus standard care, while the other half will receive standard care alone.

Dr Rhiannon Nally, Principal Investigator for PANORAMIC and GP at Wansford and Kings Cliffe Practice, Peterborough, said: "The Research Team at Wansford is delighted to have been selected to host the Panoramic Study, helping people in our local community to take part in this vital research.

"It is only with their involvement that we can find new, more effective ways to help those with Covid, so if you have had symptoms for less than five days please do think about joining the PANORAMIC trial."

Taking part is easy. Local people who receive a positive PCR test for Covid will be contacted by the trial team or a local healthcare professional, such as a GP or a research nurse, to consider enrolling in the study.

Alternatively, anyone who meets the eligibility criteria can also sign-up to take part in the study directly through the trial website: www.panoramictrial.org

All participants take part from their own homes, without needing to visit a clinic or hospital.

Participants randomised to the group that receives an antiviral treatment will have their medicines sent directly to their homes by courier.

Participants will keep a daily diary for 28 days through the PANORAMIC website or receive a phone call from the trial team on days 7, 14 and 28 to speak about their symptoms and any NHS care they have needed.

PANORAMIC has been designed as a ‘platform clinical trial’, meaning it can rapidly evaluate several antiviral treatments, as and when they become available.

The UK Antivirals Taskforce has selected all treatments to be tested. The first treatment to be investigated through the trial will be molnupiravir (brand name, Lagevrio) - a Covid antiviral pill - which has already been licensed by the MHRA.

The results from this highest priority national study will provide a clearer understanding on how antivirals work in the UK population - which has a high vaccination rate - enabling the NHS to better plan how to make Covid antivirals available for those who would benefit from them the most.

PANORAMIC is funded by the National Institute for Health Research, led by Oxford University’s Primary Care Clinical Trials Unit, while delivery of the trial is supported by the NIHR Clinical Research Network.

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