From 16 December, people who are at the highest risk of becoming seriously ill due to COVID-19 can access new treatments in the community if they develop COVID-19. This includes people who have lowered immunity and people who have cancer, including blood cancers such as lymphoma.
The new treatments that will be available are sotrovimab (a lab-made antibody, brand name Xevudy) and molnupiravir (an antiviral medicine, brand name Lagevrio).
If you are in an at-risk group, you should receive a letter, text or email from the NHS telling you about it.
- In England, you should be sent a PCR test to keep at home so you can take a test as soon as you develop symptoms. If you get a letter but you haven't received a PCR kit by 10th January, phone 119 for advice.
- In other nations, you should book a PCR test straightaway if you develop symptoms. In Scotland, people at higher risk are a priority group for booking PCR tests. Due to the current booking system, to access your priority booking, the Scottish government advises you to click 'yes' (or say 'yes' if you are ordering by phone) when asked if you are an essential worker.
- If you have a positive lateral flow test, you must get this confirmed by PCR to be able to access treatment. This remains the case even though most people in the UK no longer need a confirmatory PCR after a positive lateral flow test.
- If you have a positive PCR test, a healthcare professional should contact you to discuss the most appropriate treatment for you. If you have a positive PCR test and you are not contacted within 24 hours, get in touch with your GP, your health board or phone 111. You should be able to be referred for treatment.
- If sotrovimab is the best option for you, you go to a specialist COVID medicines delivery unit to have it. You have one dose of sotrovimab through a drip into a vein.
- If molnupiravir is the best option for you, you can either ask a friend or family member to collect it for you, or have it delivered directly to your home. Molnupiravir is provided as capsules that you take twice a day for 5 days.
Clinical trials have shown that both these treatments significantly reduce your risk of being admitted to hospital with COVID-19 if you are treated early. If you are in an at-risk group, you should now be able to access them within 5 days of developing symptoms.
Don't forget to check out our latest COVID-19 information which includes the latest information on the UK's vaccination programme. This includes information that people who have had a third primary dose are eligible for a booster dose as well (a fourth dose).
Published: 9 December 2021
Updated: 6 January 2022