The NHS offers treatment to people with COVID-19 who are at the highest risk of becoming seriously ill.
The way you access COVID-19 treatments is changing from Tuesday 27 June 2023. Please check this page from this date to find out about the new way to access COVID-19 treatments.
Who can have a COVID-19 treatment
You're eligible for COVID-19 treatment without being admitted to hospital if all 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, or another chromosomal condition that affects your immune system
- certain types of cancer, or had 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 condition affecting the brain or nerves, such as multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, motor neurone disease, myasthenia gravis, Huntington's disease, Parkinson’s disease or certain types of dementia
- certain lung conditions or treatments for lung conditions
This list is a summary and does not cover everything.
You should be told if you are eligible for COVID-19 treatment. If you think you’re eligible but have not been told, speak to your doctor or specialist who can confirm it.
Find more guidance for highest risk patients eligible for COVID-19 treatment on GOV.UK
Treatments for COVID-19
The treatments available for people at the highest risk of becoming seriously ill from COVID-19 are:
Nirmatrelvir, ritonavir, remdesivir and molnupiravir are antiviral medicines.
Sotrovimab is a biological medicine. It is also known as a neutralising monoclonal antibody (nMAb). Sotrovimab may be given to people if antiviral medicines are unsuitable for them to take.
Some treatments come as capsules or tablets that you swallow. Others are given to you through a drip in your arm (infusion), usually in a hospital or local health centre.
These treatments can help some people manage their COVID-19 symptoms and reduce the risk of becoming seriously ill.
You'll be told which treatment, if any, is most suitable for you
If you need to go into hospital for COVID-19, you may get other treatments.
How to get a COVID-19 treatment
1. Keep rapid lateral flow tests at home
If you are eligible for COVID-19 treatment, you should have rapid lateral flow tests at home.
You can order free NHS rapid lateral flow test kits on GOV.UK, if you have not received any or have used them all.
2. 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.
You should use rapid lateral flow tests from GOV.UK or NHS 119, which are free of charge.
3. Report your test result
You must report your COVID-19 rapid lateral flow test result on GOV.UK.
This is so the NHS can contact you about treatment if your result is positive. If you cannot report it online, you can call 119 to report a positive rapid lateral flow test result.
It's important to input your information correctly and use the same postcode that's on your GP record, so you can be identified. If you think your GP surgery might not have your current address, you can contact them to update it.
You cannot report a result from a test you've paid for. For example, a test you've bought from a supermarket or pharmacy.
If you get a positive result from a test you've paid for, you need to contact your specialist, GP or call NHS 111 to arrange a referral for an assessment for treatment.
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.
After you report your positive test result, the NHS will usually call you on the number you provided when registering your test result, or the number in your NHS records. They will 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.
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 or relative.
If the treatment needs to be given as a drip in your arm (infusion), you'll usually get it 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.
If you have not been contacted within 24 hours of your positive test and think that you may be eligible for COVID-19 treatments, call your GP surgery, specialist or 111.
Your GP, specialist or NHS 111 will be able to make an urgent referral to a local NHS team for an assessment for COVID-19 treatments if needed.
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.
You should report all your COVID-19 rapid lateral flow test results on GOV.UK, even if they are negative.
More information on treatments for COVID-19:
- University of Oxford COVID-19 early treatments for COVID-19 study on the Panoramic trail website
- 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.