The NHS is offering antibody and antiviral treatments to people with coronavirus (COVID-19) who are at highest risk of becoming seriously ill.
The treatments available are:
Nirmatrelvir, ritonavir, remdesivir and molnupiravir are antiviral medicines.
Sotrovimab is a biological medicine. It is also known as a neutralising monoclonal antibody (nMAb).
These treatments can help some people manage their COVID-19 symptoms and reduce the risk of becoming seriously ill. They are for people who have not been admitted to hospital.
Who can have a COVID-19 treatment
You're eligible for COVID-19 treatments if all of the following apply:
- you're aged 12 or over
- you're at highest risk of getting seriously ill from COVID-19
- you have symptoms of COVID-19
- you have tested positive for COVID-19
People at highest risk
You may be at highest risk of getting seriously ill from COVID-19 if you have:
- Down's syndrome
- certain types of cancer or have received treatment for certain types of cancer
- sickle cell disease
- certain conditions affecting your blood
- chronic kidney disease (CKD) stage 4 or 5
- severe liver disease
- had an organ transplant
- certain autoimmune or inflammatory conditions (such as rheumatoid arthritis or inflammatory bowel disease)
- HIV or AIDS and have a weakened immune system
- a condition affecting your immune system
- a rare condition affecting the brain or nerves (multiple sclerosis, motor neurone disease, Huntington’s disease or myasthenia gravis)
A doctor or specialist will confirm if you are eligible for treatment.
How was this list decided?
The list of health conditions has been agreed by the UK Chief Medical Officers.
It's based on advice from an independent advisory group of health experts commissioned by the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC).
This list is different to the list of health conditions that previously identified people as clinically extremely vulnerable.
COVID-19 treatments research
Some antiviral medicines are also available through a national study, led by the University of Oxford.
The study is open to people in the UK who:
- have tested positive for COVID-19
- have COVID-19 symptoms that started within the last 5 days
- are aged 50 and over, or are aged 18 and over with a health condition that puts them at high risk of getting seriously ill from COVID-19
If you take part in the study you may be randomly selected to receive an antiviral medicine.
How to get a COVID-19 treatment
Keep rapid lateral flow tests at home
If you are eligible for COVID-19 treatments, make sure you have some rapid lateral flow tests at home so you can get tested quickly if you get symptoms of COVID-19.
Rapid lateral flow tests are tests that show you the result on a device that comes with a test.
If you do not have tests at home or need more tests, you can order free COVID-19 rapid lateral flow test kits on GOV.UK.
If you cannot order tests online, you can call 119 free of charge.
You will no longer be sent a PCR test kit to keep at home.
If you were previously sent a PCR test kit you can keep it. You may be asked to use it if you receive COVID-19 treatments.
Take a rapid lateral flow test if you get symptoms
If you have any symptoms of COVID-19, take a rapid lateral flow test as soon as possible, even if your symptoms are mild.
Do not use a test you have bought, such as a test from a supermarket or pharmacy.
You cannot report a result from a privately bought test on GOV.UK, which means the NHS cannot contact you about COVID-19 treatments.
Report your test result
If you cannot report your test result online, you can call 119 free of charge.
You need to report your test result so the NHS can contact you about treatment if your result is positive.
What happens if you test positive
If you're eligible for treatment and you test positive for COVID-19, it's important to start the treatment as soon as you can. Treatments for COVID-19 need to be given quickly after your symptoms start to be effective.
If you have reported your positive test result, the NHS will usually call you within 24 hours of your result.
They'll give you more information and ask questions to check if treatment is right for you.
They may ask what other medicines you take or receive, including any vitamins and minerals, so it’s important to have a list of these ready.
Treatments for COVID-19 are free of charge on the NHS. The NHS will never ask for your bank account or card details, or ask you to pay for treatment.
If you have not been contacted within 24 hours of your positive test but you are eligible for COVID-19 treatments, call your GP surgery or specialist, or call 111. You cannot get help for this online.
Your GP, specialist or NHS 111 will be able to make an urgent referral if needed.
What to do if you test negative
If your test result is negative but you still have symptoms of COVID-19, you need to do 3 rapid lateral flow tests over 3 days.
So if you did your first test today, you should do another test tomorrow and a test the day after.
If any of your tests are positive and you have reported the result, the NHS should contact you about treatment.
Which treatment will I get?
The NHS will advise which treatment, if any, is suitable for you.
Some treatments come as capsules or tablets that you swallow and they can be taken at home.
The NHS will usually arrange for the medicine to be delivered to you or it can be collected by someone else such as a friend, relative or NHS Volunteer Responder.
Other treatments are given to you through a drip in your arm (infusion). You'll usually get them at your local hospital or in a local health centre.
You'll get instructions on where to get the treatment and how to get there and back safely.
You may be asked to take a PCR test. The NHS team arranging your treatment will explain how to get a PCR test.
- GOV.UK: nirmatrelvir and ritonavir (Paxlovid) patient information leaflet
- GOV.UK: sotrovimab (Xevudy) patient information leaflet
- GOV.UK: molnupiravir (Lagevrio) patient information leaflet
If you need information in easy read format or in a different language you can read information about treatments for COVID-19 on the NHS England website.