Plea for people with positive Covid tests to join 'game changer' pill trial

Covid antiviral pills

Antiviral Lagevrio (molnupiravir) pills, produced by Merck & Co. - Credit: Merck & Co

A fresh plea has been issued for Norfolk people who have tested positive for Covid-19 to join a pioneering trial of a 'game changer' coronavirus pill.

Earlier this month, GPs and healthcare professionals started enrolling participants to take an antiviral pill, which health secretary Sajid Javid described as a "game changer for the most vulnerable and the immunosuppressed".

Health secretary Sajid Javid

Health secretary Sajid Javid. - Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

And health bosses hope more people will come forward for the trial of the molnupiravir pill (brand name Lagevrio).

The pill is intended for use, in the very early stage of infection, by people at higher risk of complications.

The Platform Adaptive trial of NOvel antiviRals for eArly treatMent of Covid-19 In the Community (PANORAMIC) trial will test if the pill helps clinically vulnerable people recover sooner.

Health bosses hope that will prevent the need for hospital admission.

Norfolk people can join the study if aged 50 and over, or between 18 to 49 years with underlying health conditions making them clinically more vulnerable.

All participants need to have had a positive Covid-19 test and be within five days of the onset of symptoms.

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Just over 10,000 volunteers are needed across the east of England.

Half will be randomly allocated to receive the antiviral treatment plus standard care, while the other half will receive just standard care.

All participants take part from their own homes, without needing to visit a clinic or hospital.

Helen Macdonald

Dr Helen Macdonald. - Credit: NIHR CRN Eastern

Dr Helen Macdonald, chief operating officer for National Institute for Health Research Clinical Research Network Eastern, said: "This trial could provide us with a real game changer in terms of treating Covid-19, but we can't do it without people who have it taking part.

"As we know, cases of Covid-19 are growing, so now, more than ever, we need as many people as possible to take part in research to find ways to help people recover, and to reduce infection more generally.

"Just imagine if we could find treatments to help downgrade the coronavirus, for example to the level of a common cold, and people could simply take a tablet to help them recover quickly and get on with their lives?"

Anyone who meets the eligibility criteria can sign up at