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Antivirals for the treatment of COVID-19

If you have a weakend immune system

If your immune system is weakened you will have a reduced ability to fight infections and disease, including COVID-19.  Your immune system may be weakend due to:

  • a health condition
  • because you are on medication
  • undergoing treatment that is suppressing your immune system

If you are aged 8 years and over, you may be able to get antiviral treatmentMost people who can have antiviral treatment will be under the care of a specialist clinician at the hospital.

Who can get antiviral treatment

You may be able to get antiviral treatment if you have:

  1. symptoms of COVID-19
  2. a positive PCR or LFT test, and
  3. have one of the following: 

  • are a person with Down's Syndrome 
  • have a rare condition affecting the brain or nerves (including multiple sclerosis, motor neurone disease, Huntington's disease, or myasthenia gravis)
  • have sickle cell disease 
  • have certain types of cancer 
  • have HIV or AIDS 
  • have a severe liver condition (such as cirrhosis) 
  • have chronic kidney disease (CKD) stage 4 or 5 
  • have had an organ transplant 
  • have certain autoimmune or inflammatory conditions (such as rheumatoid arthritis or inflammatory bowel disease) 
  • have a condition or treatment that makes you more likely to get infections 
  • have had certain types of chemotherapy in the last 12 months 
  • have had radiotherapy in the last 6 months 

Due to the risks associated with being immunosuppressed, or having a specific medical condition, you should take extra precautions to keep yourself protected from COVID-19 and becoming seriously unwell.

Advice for people at increased risk from COVID-19

If you test positive for COVID-19 you should contact your GP who will assess your eligibility. If you are eligible, you should start taking the antivirals as soon as possible after you have tested positive and within 5 days of starting to show signs of symptoms. 

What antiviral treatments are available

The antiviral treatments used in Jersey are called Paxlovid and Molnupiravir.

Paxlovid is a combination of 2 medicines called nirmatrelvir and ritonavir. Nirmatrelvir works by preventing the virus from multiplying and keeping virus levels low in your body. This helps your body's immune system control the infection and reduces the risk of severe symptoms. 

Ritonavir does not work on the virus itself. It helps keep nirmatrelvir from being broken down in your body long enough for it to do its job. 

Molnupiravir stops the COVID-19 virus from growing and spreading. It works by preventing the virus from multiplying and keeping virus levels in your body low. This helps your body’s immune system control infection and reduces the risk of severe symptoms. 

COVID-19 treatments do not replace vaccinations, vaccines are extremely important in helping your immune system fight a future COVID-19 infection.

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