Residents testing positive for COVID-19 across the south are being urged to enrol in an ongoing clinical trial investigating the effectiveness of antiviral treatments for treating COVID-19 in the community. PANORAMIC is the world’s largest trial into these new treatments and regions across the UK are providing vital data which will enable rapid deployment of potentially life-saving treatments.
The Wessex region has already made a significant contribution thanks to the generosity of local participants and the hard work of primary care teams across the region, supported by the NIHR Clinical Research Network Wessex. The NIHR funds, enables, and delivers world-leading health and social care research that improves people's health and wellbeing and promotes economic growth.
Since the study opened in December 2021, nearly 500 volunteers in the Wessex area have come forward, taking the total to more than 27,000 nationally. We are very grateful to everyone who has taken part and so generously given their time.
More participants are now needed to help reach the study’s target numbers and maximise results.
58-year-old Deborah Lancaster, who lives in Highcliffe, Dorset, has been taking part in the study since December 2022, following a positive test for COVID-19. She was randomised to receive the medication and said: “This is the first study I have taken part in. I was really happy to be involved, and it hasn’t taken up much time. I filled in an online questionnaire, and there were some follow-up phone calls with the Research Nurses. It has been really easy and I will definitely volunteer again.”
It remains vitally important to research the effectiveness of COVID-19 treatments as we move forward, to ensure people are best protected against future infections.
Molnupiravir (brand name, Lagevrio) was the first antiviral pill tested as part of the trial and has already been licensed (see additional information). PANORAMIC has now moved onto testing Paxlovid, an oral antiviral pill taken at home. It has already been shown to reduce the risk of death or hospitalisation by 88% in clinical trials of unvaccinated people who have COVID-19. The medication is intended for use in the very early stages of infection and could help clinically vulnerable people with COVID-19 recover sooner, preventing the need for hospital admissions, and easing the burden on the NHS.
Local people can join the study if they are aged 50 and over, or between 18 to 49 years with underlying health conditions which make them clinically vulnerable. All participants need to have had a positive COVID-19 test and be within five days of the onset of symptoms. Anyone who meets the eligibility criteria can sign-up to take part in the study directly through the trial website: www.panoramictrial.org
All participants will take part from their own homes, without needing to visit a clinic or a 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.
In the last seven days there were 962 reported COVID-19 cases in Hampshire and 202 in Dorset, according to the government’s figures.
Dr Patrick Moore, GP and Associate Clinical Director of the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Clinical Research Network (CRN) Wessex, said:
“Across the south, we’ve had a fantastic response from members of the public who are keen to step forward and take part in trials. This trial is helping us to gather vital evidence about treatments in the community to help those most at risk from COVID-19. If you meet the criteria and have tested positive for COVID-19, I would encourage you to consider signing up to this trial.”
Professor Nick Lemoine CBE, National Institute for Health and Care Research, said:
“Additional evidence from larger cohorts is enabling clinicians to make best use of these exciting new treatments. PANORAMIC is the world’s largest platform trial into new COVID-19 antiviral treatments - collectively the UK is providing vital data which will enable rapid deployment and best use of these new potentially life-saving treatments to patients who will benefit from them the most.”
Professor Chris Butler, Chief Investigator, University of Oxford, said:
“It is early on in the illness, when people are still being cared for in the community, that treatments for COVID-19 could have their greatest benefit. The PANORAMIC trial is testing whether novel, promising antiviral treatments help people suffering from COVID in the community recover faster and reduce the need for treatment in hospital. It is critically important that new treatments are tested in people and in the situation where they are intended to be used; joining the PANORAMIC Trial will help ensure people with COVID, and indeed the NHS, get the maximum benefit from these precious treatments.”
Please contact Chrissy.Sturt@nihr.ac.uk
Further information on eligibility for the national study can be found on the PANORAMIC website
Covid rates of infection
For the most recently updated information, please see the UK Government’s COVID-19 statistics https://coronavirus.data.gov.uk/
About Molnupiravir (brand name, Lagevrio)
In December 2022, PANORAMIC reported that Molnupiravir, the first antiviral to be tested, did not reduce hospitalisations or deaths among higher risk, vaccinated adults with COVID-19 in the community. The treatment was, however, associated with a faster recovery time and reduced viral detection and load – participants who received Molnupiravir reported feeling better compared to those who received usual care, and once well, more often stayed well.
This COVID-19 antiviral therapy has already received conditional marketing authorisation from the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), following an assessment of evidence from earlier studies which showed the drug to be effective in the treatment of COVID-19. Paxlovid is already being rolled out outside of the PANORAMIC study to those at highest risk who test positive for the virus directly through the NHS – including those who are immunocompromised, cancer patients or those with Down’s syndrome.
Antivirals are treatments used to either treat those who are infected with a virus or protect exposed individuals from becoming infected. Whilst vaccines remain the most important first line of defence, antivirals target the virus at an early stage, with the aim of preventing progression to more severe, or even critical, symptoms.
About the PANORAMIC trial
Researchers from the University of Oxford, University of Southampton, Cardiff University, University College London, and University of Liverpool are working together with NHS health and social care organisations in England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland to ensure everyone in the UK who is eligible is able to participate.
PANORAMIC (Platform Adaptive trial of NOvel antiviRals for eArly treatMent of covid-19 In the Community) has two sub studies – the Post Exposure Prophylaxis sub-study will test whether antiviral agents prevent transmission to people living with someone who gets COVID-19; and a Virology sub-study aims to find out whether the new treatments reduce viral shedding and if using the new drugs cause the virus to become resistant to treatment.
About the NIHR
The mission of the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) is to improve the health and wealth of the nation through research. We do this by:
Funding high quality, timely research that benefits the NHS, public health and social care;
Investing in world-class expertise, facilities and a skilled delivery workforce to translate discoveries into improved treatments and services;
Partnering with patients, service users, carers and communities, improving the relevance, quality and impact of our research;
Attracting, training and supporting the best researchers to tackle complex health and social care challenges;
Collaborating with other public funders, charities and industry to help shape a cohesive and globally competitive research system;
Funding applied global health research and training to meet the needs of the poorest people in low and middle income countries.
NIHR is funded by the Department of Health and Social Care. Its work in low and middle income countries is principally funded through UK Aid from the UK government.
About the University of Oxford
Oxford University has been placed number 1 in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings for the sixth year running, and at the heart of this success is our ground-breaking research and innovation.
Oxford is world-famous for research excellence and home to some of the most talented people from across the globe. Our work helps the lives of millions, solving real-world problems through a huge network of partnerships and collaborations. The breadth and interdisciplinary nature of our research sparks imaginative and inventive insights and solutions.