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Treatments for COVID-19

The NHS offers treatment to people with COVID-19 who are at the highest risk of becoming seriously ill.

Who is eligible for COVID-19 treatment?

You’re eligible for COVID-19 treatment if all the following apply:

  • you’re aged 18 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 high risk could include:

  • 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

Please note: This list is a summary and does not cover everything. Find more guidance for highest risk patients eligible for COVID-19 treatment on GOV.UK

How to get a COVID-19 treatment

1. You should keep lateral flow tests at home

You should keep lateral flow tests at home but only use them if you get symptoms. If you do not have any tests, you can order them free of charge from https://www.gov.uk/order-coronavirus-rapid-lateral-flow-tests or by calling 119.

From 1 October 2023, the way you access tests may change. You will be able to check www.nhs.uk/CovidTreatments for more information closer to the time.

You can also now use tests purchased from a pharmacy or shop.

2. You should take a test if you have COVID symptoms

If you have COVID symptoms you should take a test immediately, even if your symptoms are mild.

If your test is negative but you continue to have symptoms, you should take another test on each of the next two days (three tests in total over three days).

3. Contact the NHS as soon as possible if you test positive

If you test positive, you should contact the Covid Medicine Delivery Unit (CMDU) directly via 01158 462 392 as soon as possible after you test positive so that they can consider referring you for an assessment for treatment. The phoneline will be open Monday to Sunday between 8am-4pm.

Treatments for COVID-19

The treatments available for people at the highest risk of becoming seriously ill from COVID-19 are called antiviral medicines. Some are 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 when you speak to a clinician on the phone.