COVID-19 treatments and cystic fibrosis
This page contains information about the latest treatments for COVID-19 that some people with cystic fibrosis (CF) may be eligible for if they test positive for COVID-19 on a PCR test. It also contains information about a clinical study open to over 18s with CF to test the effectiveness of antiviral treatment for COVID-19 infection.
Last updated: 31 January 2022
Access to COVID-19 treatment through the PANORAMIC study
If you have CF you may be able to access the antiviral treatment molnupiravir through a new national study called PANORAMIC. The study is recruiting around 10,000 people across the UK and is open to people aged 18 or over with pre-existing conditions including cystic fibrosis.
Those taking part in the study will have the opportunity to take molnupiravir at home after receiving a positive PCR or Lateral Flow test. Half of those taking part in the study will receive molnupiravir, and half will receive a control (a placebo or ‘dummy treatment’).
Taking part in the study will require you to complete 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. The first set of results from the trial are expected in early 2022.
How can I take part in the study?
The PANORAMIC study is open to people with CF in the UK, provided they:
- are over 18
- receive a positive PCR or Lateral Flow test
- feel unwell with symptoms of COVID-19 that started in the last five days.
If eligible, people who receive a positive PCR test will be contacted by the study team or their GP to sign up to the trial. Or you can sign up yourself through the study’s website.
If I have CF, can I access COVID-19 treatment on the NHS?
From 16 December 2021, those who are at highest risk of becoming seriously ill from COVID-19 can access treatment on the NHS if they have had a positive PCR test. This includes some people with CF.
These treatments can help some people manage their COVID-19 symptoms and reduce the risk of becoming seriously ill.
There are two treatments available:
Sotrovimab (brand name Xevudy) – an antibody treatment
Molnupiravir (brand name Lagevrio) - an antiviral treatment
Sotrovimab (brand name Xevudy)
- Sotrovimab is an antibody treatment. The antibodies in sotrovimab are known as neutralising monoclonal antibodies (nMAbs). They attach themselves to the virus and stop it from infecting cells.
- Sotrovimab is given through a drip in your arm (an infusion). This would usually be done at a hospital or health centre near to you.
- It is recommended that treatment begins in the first five days of symptoms starting.
- Antibody treatment would usually be offered as a first option to treat COVID-19 infection, rather than antiviral treatment.
Molnupiravir (brand name Lagevrio)
- Molnupiravir is an antiviral treatment. It stops the virus from multiplying and lowers the level of virus in the body.
- It is taken orally as capsules.
- It is usually given for mild to moderate COVID-19 infection.
- Another antiviral treatment is remdesivir. This is available on a very limited basis to people hospitalised with COVID-19.
- You will usually be offered antibody treatment such as sotrovimab before antiviral treatment such as molnupiravir.
How will I know if I am eligible for COVID-19 treatment?
COVID-19 treatment is only available on the NHS to people who are at the highest risk of becoming unwell from COVID-19. This includes people who are post-transplant or immunosuppressed for other reasons.
The antibody treatment sotrovimab can be taken by those eligible who are aged 12 and over. The antiviral treatment molnupiravir can only be taken by those who are eligible and aged over 18.
You will be informed by the NHS if you are eligible to receive the treatments and test positive for COVID-19. If you have symptoms, you should take a PCR test at home and register your result so the NHS can get in touch within 24 hours to give you more information and check if the treatment is right for you.
These treatments are available across the UK, though the process varies by nation. If you are eligible you should be contacted by the NHS to inform you of this. However, the timings of this may vary.
If you feel you may be eligible, but haven’t heard anything, you can contact your GP or CF team to discuss whether you should be in the highest risk group. They can refer you to your local Covid Medicines Delivery Unit who will check if you are eligible for these treatments.
Will I still need treatment if I have been vaccinated?
Vaccination remains the best way to protect yourselves and others against COVID-19 infection. However, the vaccines may not be as effective in those who are immunosuppressed, such as people with cystic fibrosis who have had a transplant. The new treatments are available to those who are at highest risk of becoming unwell if they test positive for COVID-19, which includes those who are immunosuppressed.
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