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Treatments for coronavirus (COVID-19)

NHS information about treatments for coronavirus (COVID-19), including what types of treatment are available and who is eligible for them.

The NHS offers treatments to people with coronavirus (COVID-19) who are at the highest risk of becoming seriously ill.

The treatments available are:

Nirmatrelvir, ritonavir, remdesivir and molnupiravir are antiviral medicines.

Sotrovimab is a biological medicine. It is also known as a neutralising monoclonal antibody (nMAb).

These treatments can help some people manage their COVID-19 symptoms and reduce the risk of becoming seriously ill.

You're eligible for these COVID-19 treatments if you have not been admitted to hospital and all of the following apply:

  • you're aged 12 or over
  • you're at highest risk of getting seriously ill from COVID-19
  • you have symptoms of COVID-19, which are not getting better
  • you have tested positive for COVID-19

People at highest risk

You may be at highest risk of getting seriously ill from COVID-19 if you have:

  • Down's syndrome, or another chromosomal disorder that affects your immune system
  • certain types of cancer or have received treatment for certain types of cancer
  • sickle cell disease
  • certain conditions affecting your blood
  • chronic kidney disease (CKD) stage 4 or 5
  • severe liver disease
  • had an organ transplant
  • certain autoimmune or inflammatory conditions (such as rheumatoid arthritis or inflammatory bowel disease)
  • HIV or AIDS and have a weakened immune system
  • a condition affecting your immune system
  • a rare condition affecting the brain or nerves (multiple sclerosis, motor neurone disease, Huntington’s disease or myasthenia gravis)

A doctor or specialist can confirm if you are eligible for treatment.

How was this list decided?

The list of health conditions has been agreed by the UK Chief Medical Officers.

It's based on advice from an independent advisory group of health experts commissioned by the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC).

Read the COVID-19 treatments independent advisory group report on GOV.UK

This list is different to the list of health conditions that previously identified people as clinically extremely vulnerable or advised to shield. It is also different to the list of health conditions that make someone eligible for an additional primary dose (3rd dose) of the COVID-19 vaccine, or a spring booster.

Information:

COVID-19 treatments research

Some antiviral medicines are also available through a national study, led by the University of Oxford.

The study is open to people in the UK who:

  • have tested positive for COVID-19
  • have COVID-19 symptoms that started within the last 5 days
  • are aged 50 and over, or are aged 18 and over with a health condition that puts them at high risk of getting seriously ill from COVID-19

If you take part in the study you may be randomly selected to receive an antiviral medicine.

Find out more about the University of Oxford COVID-19 antiviral study on the Panoramic trial website

Keep rapid lateral flow tests at home

If you are eligible for COVID-19 treatments, make sure you have some rapid lateral flow tests at home so you can test quickly if you get symptoms of COVID-19.

Rapid lateral flow tests are tests that show you the result on a device that comes with a test.

If you do not have tests at home or need more tests, you can order free COVID-19 rapid lateral flow test kits on GOV.UK.

If you cannot order tests online, you can call 119 free of charge.

If you have any symptoms of COVID-19, take a rapid lateral flow test as soon as possible, even if your symptoms are mild.

Only use tests from GOV.UK or NHS 119, which are free of charge. Do not use a test you have bought, such as a test from a supermarket or pharmacy.

You cannot report a result from a privately bought test on GOV.UK, which means the NHS cannot contact you about COVID-19 treatments.

You must report your COVID-19 rapid lateral flow test result on GOV.UK.

If you cannot report your test result online, you can call 119 free of charge.

You need to report your test result so the NHS can contact you about treatment if your result is positive.

If you're eligible for treatment and you test positive for COVID-19, it's important to start the treatment as soon as you can. Treatments for COVID-19 need to be given quickly after your symptoms start to be effective.

If you have reported your positive test result, the NHS will usually call you on the number you provided when registering your test result, or the number in your NHS records. They will give you more information and ask questions to check if treatment is right for you.

They may ask what other medicines you take or receive, including any vitamins and minerals, so it’s important to have a list of these ready.

Treatments for COVID-19 are free of charge on the NHS. The NHS will never ask for your bank account or card details, or ask you to pay for treatment.

If you have not been contacted

If you have not been contacted within 24 hours of your positive test, but you think that you may be eligible for COVID-19 treatments, call your GP surgery, specialist or 111. You cannot get help for this online.

Your GP, specialist or NHS 111 will be able to make an urgent referral if needed.

If your test result is negative but you still have symptoms of COVID-19, you need to do 3 rapid lateral flow tests over 3 days.

So if you did your first test today, you should do another test tomorrow and a test the day after.

If any of your tests are positive and you have reported the result, the NHS should contact you about treatment.

The NHS will advise which treatment, if any, is suitable for you.

Some treatments come as capsules or tablets that you swallow and they can be taken at home.

The NHS will usually arrange for the medicine to be delivered to you or it can be collected by someone else such as a friend, relative or NHS Volunteer Responder.

Other treatments are given to you through a drip in your arm (infusion). You'll usually get them at your local hospital or in a local health centre.

You'll get instructions on where to get the treatment and how to get there and back safely.

You may be asked to take a PCR test. The NHS team arranging your treatment will explain how to get a PCR test.

If you need information in easy read format or in a different language you can read information about treatments for COVID-19 on the NHS England website.

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