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.

Page last reviewed 1 March 2023

  • Access to COVID-19 treatment through the PANORAMIC study

    If you have CF you may be able to access antiviral treatment through a 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.

    The study looks at how effective different antiviral treatments are against COVID-19.

    Those taking part in the study will have the opportunity to take an antiviral treatment (either molnupiravir, or Paxlovid) at home after receiving a positive PCR or Lateral Flow test. Half of those taking part in the study will receive antiviral treatment, 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. 

    Find out more about the PANORAMIC study

  • If I have CF, can I access COVID-19 treatment on the NHS?

    Those who are at highest risk of becoming seriously ill from COVID-19 can access treatment on the NHS if they have tested positive for COVID-19. 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 four treatments currently available: 

    Nirmatrelvir and ritonavir (Paxlovid)

    Remdesivir (Veklury)

    Molnupiravir (brand name Lagevrio)

    Sotrovimab (brand name Xevudy)

    Sotrovimab is an antibody treatment. The antibodies in the treatment attach to the virus to stop it from infecting cells. The other treatments are all antiviral treatments, which stop the virus multiplying and lower the levels of the virus in the body.

    You can find out more about COVID-19 treatments on the NHS website.

    Following a review of the clinical and cost-effectiveness of COVID-19 treatments, draft NICE guidance published in February 2023 recommended the following three treatment options for all those with COVID-19 at highest risk of developing serious disease.

    Paxlovid (nirmaltrelvir plus ritonavir)

    Xevudy (sotrovimab) – this can be used where Paxlovid is contraindicated or unsuitable.

    RoActemra (tocilizumab)

    Once the draft guidance is approved, these three treatments will be made available for use both at home and in hospital for those eligible.

     

  • 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.

    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. Eligibility criteria such as age may vary depending on the treatment. 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.

    Find out about research Cystic Fibrosis Trust is funding to better understand how the vaccines work in people with CF who are immunosuppressed. 

    Read about COVID-19 treatments on the NHS website

  • Can you tell me more about the COVID-19 drug Evusheld?

    What is Evusheld?

    Evusheld is a medicine that can prevent COVID-19 symptoms. It was licensed for use in the UK in March 2022 by the MHRA (the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency, the body that regulates medicines) for adults who are unlikely to develop a good response from current COVID-19 vaccines. This can include some people with CF, usually those who have had a transplant.

    Is Evusheld available for people with CF in the UK?

    At the moment Evusheld is not available to people in the UK. In August 2022, the UK government announced it will not make Evusheld available to patients until a decision has been made around its use by NICE (the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, the body that provides guidance to the government on health and social care).

    This is because the government said there is not currently enough data to prove Evusheld is effective against the Omicron variant of COVID-19, and so it will not buy doses of Evusheld for use in the UK until NICE has completed a full appraisal on its clinical and cost effectiveness.

    This process usually takes a number of months, with a decision expected in mid-2023. Evusheld is currently available in some other countries like the United States, Canada, and Israel.

    What is the Trust doing to help people access Evusheld?

    The decision not to make Evusheld available to those most at risk of COVID-19 is disappointing for some people within our community, particularly those who are immunocompromised, who had hoped that this medicine would provide them with extra protection against COVID-19 as we move into winter.

    The Trust is working with UKCFMA, other charities and the government to understand the NICE appraisal, and to contribute to the full assessment. We are also working hard to ensure that more is done to support and protect people with CF who are most at risk from COVID-19. 

Mental and physical health

Helpful advice on how you can maintain your emotional and physical wellbeing through a range of activities.

COVID-19 and vaccination

Here you can find information about COVID-19 vaccination for children and adults with cystic fibrosis and for parents/carers. 

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