Ground-breaking COVID-19 antiviral treatment trial opens to recruitment
8th December 2021
A first-of-its-kind clinical trial to investigate the effectiveness of new COVID-19 oral antiviral treatments - which can be safely taken at home - has begun enrolling participants today
The nationwide platform trial will rapidly assess the effectiveness of a range of novel, purpose-designed COVID-19 antivirals. These new orally administered treatments are intended for use in the very early stages of infection, by people in the community with COVID-19 who are at higher risk of complications from the disease.
The Platform Adaptive trial of NOvel antiviRals for eArly treatMent of COVID-19 In the Community (PANORAMIC) is now open to participants from right across the UK.
People can join the study if they have a positive COVID-19 test, are within five days from the onset of symptoms - and are aged 50 and over, or between 18 to 49 years with underlying health conditions that make them clinically more vulnerable. All participants should have recorded a positive PCR test within the past seven days.
The researchers will enrol 10,600 volunteers in total, 5300 for each arm of the study. To enable the benefit of the treatment to be compared against standard care - 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. The results from the 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-19 antivirals available for those who would benefit from them the most.
Led by the University of Oxford, PANORAMIC is open UK-wide.
People who receive a positive PCR test for COVID-19 and meet the eligibility criteria can 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. For participants randomised to the group that receives an antiviral treatment, medicines will be sent to people’s homes from an online pharmacy 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 that could help clinically vulnerable people with COVID-19 recover sooner, prevent the need for hospital admission and so ease the burden on the NHS. The UK Antivirals Taskforce has selected all treatments to be tested.
The first new 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. Additional new antiviral treatments will also be investigated through different arms of the trial platform, as and when they become available.
Scotland’s Chief Medical Officer Dr Gregor Smith said: “This University of Oxford study will test whether new antiviral treatments for COVID-19 can help people in the early stages of the illness recover faster and therefore reduce the number of people being admitted to hospital.
“The results from the national study will give us a clearer understanding on how antivirals work in the UK population, which will allow the NHS to better plan how to make COVID-19 antivirals available for those who would benefit from them the most. We will provide further detail on plans for wider availability of antivirals in due course.
“I would encourage people in Scotland to take part if they are eligible. You may be contacted about taking part by a health care professional if you have a positive PCR result, or you can register yourself via the Oxford University website www.panoramictrial.org.
“The treatment is tablets taken orally as soon as possible after getting a COVID-19 infection to stop the illness from getting worse.
“Antiviral treatments are in addition to COVID-19 vaccinations - including boosters – and not a replacement. We hope they will help reduce the severity of illness in people who may fall ill even if they have been vaccinated.
“It remains clear that getting vaccinated is the single most effective step that anyone can take to protect themselves from the most severe disease caused by COVID-19. Anyone who has not yet received their first or second COVID-19 vaccination can check their nearest open access centre on NHS Inform or phone the national vaccination helpline on 0800 030 8013.”
PANORAMIC is funded by the National Institute for Health Research, led by Oxford University’s Primary Care Clinical Trials Unit, delivery of the trial is supported by the NIHR Clinical Research Network, NHS Research Scotland, the Northern Ireland Clinical Research Network and Health and Social Care Research Wales.
For further information, please visit www.panoramictrial.org
Further details on the University of Oxford trial and what is involved in taking part is available at www.panoramictrial.org
- CMO encourages people to come forward for antiviral trial (Scottish Government release)
- UK's most vulnerable people to receive life-saving COVID-19 treatments in the community (Department of Health and Social care release)