The first clinical trial in the UK to investigate whether antiviral drugs could help reduce the severity of COVID-19 is due to start.

The trial is led by the University of Oxford and is being delivered in Wales by Cardiff University in partnership with Public Health Wales and Health and Care Research Wales. Cardiff University staff are also working directly with Oxford to support the central work required to deliver this study across the UK, as well as leading on one of the sub-studies.

The PANORAMIC study (Platform adaptive trial of novel antivirals for early treatment of COVID-19 in the community) aims to understand whether people at increased risk of severe disease could benefit from taking antiviral tablets.

It is hoped this approach could help reduce the severity of the virus, speed up recovery and avoid the need for treatments in hospital. The study will also provide more data on how antivirals work in a predominantly vaccinated population and inform future decisions.

Treatments include Lagevrio, which has already been approved by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency. The trial is open to those over 50, or people 18-to- 49 with an underlying health condition with a positive COVID-19 test (PCR or LFT) and symptoms for less than five days.