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Panoramic trial: what is the Covid drug study for over 50s, who is eligible and how to sign up

People over the age of 50 and those with underlying health conditions are being urged to participate in a new study of life-saving treatments for Covid-19.

But what is the Panoramic study, how does it work and who is eligible to take part?

Here’s what you need to know.

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What is the Panoramic study?

The study is open to those who test positive for Covid and had symptoms develop in the previous five days, with volunteers to be given pills to take at home.

The study will help decide how antiviral drugs will be used.

The antivirals to be used in the Panoramic trial are:

  • Molnupiravir - made by Merck, Sharp and Dohme (MSD)
  • Paxlovid - made by Pfizer and taken alongside another drug, ritonavir

The UK regulator has licensed both of these antivirals for treating Covid, with both having completed clinical trials and shown promising results at reducing the risk of serious illness or death.

The study will give doctors an idea of the potential benefits to vaccinated patients  and aid the NHS in planning how they can be used.

Who is eligible to take part?

Health Secretary Sajid Javid has asked everyone eligible to "step forward" and "help us to learn more about medicines which could save thousands of lives".

The trial was launched in December 2020 and already has 4,500 people signed up.

However, it needs 6,000 more as soon as possible.

A multitude of charities, including the British Liver Trust and Kidney Care UK, are urging anyone vulnerable to Covid-19 to sign up.

People with the following health conditions are also encouraged to sign up:

  • chronic respiratory disease (including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), cystic fibrosis and asthma requiring at least daily use of preventative and/or reliever medication) 
  • chronic heart or vascular disease 
  • chronic liver disease
  • chronic neurological disease (including dementia, stroke, epilepsy) 
  • severe and profound learning disability 
  • Down’s syndrome
  • type-1 or type-2 diabetes
  • morbid obesity (body mass index (BMI) over 35) 
  • severe mental illness 

How do I sign up?

You can sign up at the study website now or your GP may contact you to ask you to participate in the trial if you test positive for Covid.