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1.4 million More People at Risk of Severe COVID-19 to Have Access to Antiviral Paxlovid

A further 1.4 million people who have an increased risk for progression to severe COVID-19 will be eligible for Paxlovid if they test positive following updated NICE final draft guidance published at the beginning of the year.

Following a partial review NICE has published updated final draft guidance which increases the number of people eligible to access Paxlovid to an estimated 5.3 million. This means that within 3 months of NICE publishing final guidance, the following groups will also have access to Paxlovid if they test positive for Covid 19:

• People aged 85 years and over.
• People with end-stage heart failure who have a long-term ventricular assistance device.
• People on the organ transplant waiting list.
• People aged 70 years and over, or who have a BMI of 35 kg/m2 or more, diabetes or heart failure, and are resident in a care home, or are already hospitalised

Paxlovid is an antiviral medicine, given as 2 separate tablets to people within 5 days of getting COVID-19 symptoms. It works by stopping the virus from growing and spreading in the body. It’s 2 separate medicines, nirmatrelvir and ritonavir. Nirmatrelvir stops the virus from growing and spreading, and ritonavir helps nirmatrelvir from being broken down in the body while it is working.

People eligible for COVID-19 treatments can get free lateral flow tests from participating pharmacies and should take a test as soon as they have symptoms, even if mild. If positive, people should call their GP surgery, NHS 111 or hospital specialist as soon as possible.

Helen knight, director of medicines evaluation said: “Our review of the evidence on the use of Paxlovid has found it offers value for money for a wider group of patients. This is good news for people who may contract COVID-19 in the coming months and will help alleviate pressure on the health service. NICE is focused on getting the best care to patients while ensuring the NHS can continue to deliver maximum value to the taxpayer.

“Although we are no longer in a pandemic, COVID-19 is still circulating and we are pleased that more people at risk of severe disease can benefit from Paxlovid.”

 

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