The antiviral treatment that decreases the risk of serious illness has been given to more than 32,000 patients since being introduced for patients outside of hospital late last year. Named Paxlovid, the treatment was found in trials to reduce hospitalisations and deaths by 88% and has been given to over 1,400 patients in the last week alone.
One patient who has been helped by Paxlovid is 56-year-old Helen West of Walderslade, Chatham. Helen suffers from ankylosing spondylitis, a rare type of arthritis in which the spine and other areas of the body become inflamed, stiff and painful. As a result, she has to take medication that suppresses her immune system. After contracting Covid, her consultant at Medway NHS Foundation Trust offered her Paxlovid. After initially rejecting the treatment, her joints became more painful. She then changed her mind and contacted the hospital. Helen said: “The process was so quick and efficient. Within six hours of taking the first tablet I felt a very slight improvement. After four days, I was back to work. Covid hit me hard but Paxlovid really made a positive difference to my recovery.”
The national medical director of the NHS, Professor Stephen Powis, said:
Paxlovid is being used to help those deemed most likely to become seriously ill with covid or need hospitalisation in line with government guidance. It prevents the virus from multiplying in cells, helping patients to recover more quickly. Sajid Javid, the Health and Social Care Secretary, said: