Two Covid antiviral treatments to be rolled out in January

·2-min read
A pill called molnupiravir is one of two new treatments for coronavirus to be available from the new year (PA) (PA Media)
A pill called molnupiravir is one of two new treatments for coronavirus to be available from the new year (PA) (PA Media)

New antiviral treatments for people with the early stages of coronavirus will be rolled out in Scotland in early January.

Two types of treatment will be available for people at the highest risk after they test positive.

One of these is an intravenous injection known as a monoclonal antibody treatment, which is administered in day clinics in hospital.

A pill called molnupiravir will also be made available for adults who are at the highest risk from Covid-19.

Scotland’s chief medical officer, Gregor Smith, said the new treatments are “groundbreaking” but should not be seen as an alternative to vaccination.

Gregor Smith said the treatments are not an alternative to vaccination (Scottish Government) (PA Media)
Gregor Smith said the treatments are not an alternative to vaccination (Scottish Government) (PA Media)

He said: “Adults and children aged 12 or over who are thought to be at high risk and with a clinical condition that has been prioritised for treatment will be able to be assessed by a clinician in their own health board to see if the new coronavirus therapies are suitable and will be given further information on how to access the medicines, if eligible.

“We will also be writing to individuals who may be eligible to access these new treatments in early January to provide them with further information and home PCR test kits.

“If recommended for treatment, individuals may be invited to attend a day clinic at a hospital to receive a monoclonal antibody, which is normally given by intravenous infusion.

“Alternatively, the assessing clinician may recommend an antiviral treatment to be taken orally.”

Details on who is eligible for the new treatments are on the NHS Inform website.

The UK Government has also announced that it has secured more than four million courses of the antiviral treatments from the pharmaceutical companies MSD and Pfizer.

The procurement is taking place on a four-nations basis.

UK Health Secretary Sajid Javid said: “Our Covid-19 booster programme continues at unparalleled pace and it’s vital we further bolster our national response to the virus by ensuring access to the world’s best treatments, too.

“This is a mammoth deal for the UK Government and for patients across the country, who are set to benefit from these antivirals over the coming months.”

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