Coronavirus (COVID-19): Treatments

Getting your coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccination remains the best way to protect yourself from the virus.

There are additional treatment options for selected groups of people with coronavirus who are thought to be at greater risk. These treatments need to be given soon after you get a positive coronavirus test result to be most effective.

These additional coronavirus treatments are available to the following groups of people:

  • those thought to be at high risk and with a clinical condition that's been prioritised for treatment
  • those taking part in a research study called PANORAMIC

Direct access to coronavirus treatments for patients with clinical conditions prioritised for treatment

Adults and children (aged 12 or over) who have all 3 of the following are eligible to be assessed for treatment:

  • symptoms of coronavirus that started in the last 5 days with no signs of clinical recovery
  • are a member of one of the patient groups considered at high risk from coronavirus with a clinical condition prioritised for treatment
  • coronavirus is confirmed by either a positive lateral flow device (LFD) test or PCR test

Your LFD test is not complete until you report your result, either online or by phone, and receive a result confirmation notification.

Patient groups considered at high risk from coronavirus and to be prioritised for treatment

The following patient groups were determined by a UK Department of Health and Social Care-commissioned group of clinical experts using the best available evidence on outcomes in coronavirus infection.

Down's syndrome

All patients with Down's Syndrome

Patients with a solid cancer
  • Active metastatic cancer and active solid cancers (at any stage)
  • All patients that have received chemotherapy within the last 3 months and certain patients that received chemotherapy 3 – 12 months ago
  • Patients receiving radiotherapy within the last 6 months
Patients with haematological (blood) diseases and stem cell transplant recipients
  • All patients with sickle cell disease
  • Allogeneic haematopoietic stem cell transplant (HSCT) recipients in the last 12 months or active graft vs host disease (GVHD) regardless of time from transplant (including HSCT for non-malignant diseases)
  • Autologous HSCT recipients in the last 12 months (including HSCT for non-malignant diseases)
  • Individuals with haematological malignancies who have received chimaeric antigen receptor (CAR)-T cell therapy in the last 24 months, or radiotherapy in the last 6 months
  • Individuals with haematological malignancies receiving systemic anti-cancer treatment (SACT) within the last 12 months except patients with chronic phase chronic myeloid leukaemia (CML) in molecular response or first or second line tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKI)
  • All patients with myeloma (excluding MGUS) or chronic B-cell lymphoproliferative disorders (e.g. chronic lymphocytic leukaemia, follicular lymphoma) or myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) who do not fit the criteria above
  • Individuals with non-malignant haematological disorder (e.g. aplastic anaemia or paroxysmal nocturnal haemoglobinuria) receiving B-cell depleting systemic treatment (e.g. anti-CD20, anti thymocyte globulin [ATG] and alemtzumab) within the last 12 months.
Patients with a renal (kidney) disease
  • Renal transplant recipients (including those with failed transplants within the past 12 months), particularly those who:
      • Received B cell depleting therapy within the past 12 months (including alemtuzumab, rituximab [anti-CD20], anti-thymocyte globulin)
      • Have an additional substantial risk factor which would in isolation make them eligible for nMABs or oral antivirals
      • Not been vaccinated prior to transplantation
  • Non-transplant patients who have received a comparable level of immunosuppression
  • Patients with chronic kidney stage (CKD) 4 or 5 (an eGFR less than 30 ml/min/1.73m2) without immunosuppression
Patients with liver disease
  • Patients with cirrhosis Child’s-Pugh class B and C (decompensated liver disease)
  • Patients with a liver transplant
  • Liver patients on immune suppressive therapy (including patients with and without liver cirrhosis)
  • Patients with cirrhosis Child’s-Pugh class A who are not on immune suppressive therapy (compensated liver disease)
Patients with immune-mediated inflammatory disorders (IMID)
  • IMID treated with rituximab or other B cell depleting therapy in the last 12 months
  • IMID with active/unstable disease on corticosteroids, cyclophosphamide, tacrolimus, cyclosporin or mycophenolate.
  • IMID with stable disease on either corticosteroids, cyclophosphamide, tacrolimus, cyclosporin or mycophenolate.
  • IMID patients with active/unstable disease including those on biological monotherapy and on combination biologicals with thiopurine or methotrexate
Immune deficiencies
  • Common variable immunodeficiency (CVID)
  • Undefined primary antibody deficiency on immunoglobulin (or eligible for Ig)
  • Hyper-IgM syndromes
  • Good’s syndrome (thymoma plus B-cell deficiency)
  • Severe Combined Immunodeficiency (SCID)
  • Autoimmune polyglandular syndromes/autoimmune polyendocrinopathy, candidiasis, ectodermal dystrophy (APECED syndrome)
  • Primary immunodeficiency associated with impaired type I interferon signalling
  • X-linked agammaglobulinaemia (and other primary agammaglobulinaemias)
  • Any patient with a secondary immunodeficiency receiving or eligible for, immunoglobulin replacement therapy
HIV/AIDS
  • Patients with high levels of immune suppression, have uncontrolled/untreated HIV (high viral load) or present acutely with an AIDS defining diagnosis
  • On treatment for HIV with CD4 <350 cells/mm3 and stable on HIV treatment or CD4>350 cells/mm3 and additional risk factors (e.g. age, diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular, liver or renal disease, homeless, those with alcohol-dependence)
Solid organ transplant recipients

All recipients of solid organ transplants not otherwise specified above

Rare neurological conditions
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Motor neurone disease
  • Myasthenia gravis
  • Huntington’s disease

Accessing testing

You can check coronavirus symptoms using lateral flow device (LFD) tests. If your LFD test is negative, but you still have symptoms, you should take another LFD test on each of the next 2 days (3 tests in total over 3 days).

If you have a health condition which means you may be eligible for new coronavirus treatments, you should keep a pack of lateral flow tests at home. Only use them if you develop symptoms. You can order a free pack for home delivery online or by calling 119. You should only call 119 if you can’t order online.

Testing will remain available free of charge to those who have a health condition which means they may be eligible for new coronavirus treatments.

Accessing treatment

The table below provides a phone number for each NHS health board that you can contact if you meet the eligibility criteria. You should contact your health board where you live.

The phone lines will be open 7 days a week including public holidays (see the contact list for availability). You may reach an answering machine and be asked to leave a message as some areas are operating a call back service.

After contacting the number you'll be assessed for your suitability for treatment.

If eligible, you'll be asked about the medicines that you're currently taking. This is for safety reasons as some medicines can cause serious side effects when taken together. Please have the list of medicines that you're taking handy when you call. This includes medicines prescribed by your GP practice or hospital, medicines prescribed privately outside of the NHS, and any medicines bought from a pharmacy or shop without a prescription.

Remember to also include herbal remedies and vitamin supplements you are taking, as well as medicines that come in patches, inhalers, suppositories, lozenges, gels, ointments, or creams.

The NHS will advise which treatment, if any, is suitable for you. Your clinician may recommend an antiviral treatment to be taken orally. Alternatively, you might have to travel to a day clinic at a hospital to receive a treatment called a monoclonal antibody treatment. This is normally given by intravenous infusion (in your vein). You'll get instructions on where to get the treatment and how to get there and back safely.

Coronavirus is much less likely to progress to severe disease in people aged 12 to 17 even in those who might be viewed as at increased risk. Only those 12 to 17 year olds assessed as at exceptionally high risk will be offered an infusion of a monoclonal antibody treatment. The oral antiviral treatments are only authorised for use in adults over 18.

These numbers should not be used if you're seeking urgent medical advice or have a general health query.

Health board

Phone number

NHS Ayrshire & Arran 01563 825 610
NHS Borders 01896 827 015
NHS Dumfries & Galloway 01387 241 959
NHS Fife 01592 729 799
NHS Forth Valley 01786 434 110
NHS Grampian  01224 553 555
NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde 0800 121 7072
NHS Highland 0800 085 1558
NHS Lanarkshire 01355 585 145
NHS Lothian 0300 790 6769
NHS Orkney 01856 888 259
NHS Shetland 01595 743 393
NHS Tayside (Open 9am-4pm: Mon-Fri and 9am-1pm: Sat-Sun) 01382 919 477
NHS Western Isles 01851 601 151

PANORAMIC Research Study

Coronavirus oral antiviral treatments are being evaluated through a study called PANORAMIC, run by the University of Oxford.

People across Scotland took part in the first stage of the study which evaluated a medicine called molnupiravir. This stage of the study has now closed.

The second stage of the study will evaluate a medicine called Paxlovid. This stage is taking place through localised study sites. This is because the health professionals recruiting participants into the study need access to medical record data to see if the medicine is suitable for individuals before they can enter the study.

There are no study sites open yet in Scotland. Work is underway to find out how this stage of the study could be offered in Scotland in the future.

For more information about the study, visit the PANORAMIC trial website or contact communications@nrs.org.uk

Last updated:
11 May 2022