Community pharmacy is at the heart of one of the most ambitious clinical trials ever undertaken by the UK’s primary care network, says senior academic pharmacist Professor Mahendra Patel.

The PANORAMIC trial has been designed to rapidly evaluate several antiviral treatments over time that could help people at high risk of Covid-19 recover sooner, prevent the need for hospital admission and so ease the burden on the NHS.

The Platform Adaptive trial of Novel antivirals for early treatment of Covid-19 In the Community (PANORAMIC) is a national priority trial led by Oxford University’s Primary Care Clinical Trials Unit.

Lead investigators say the study will enable early and rapid testing of novel antiviral agents and help repurpose existing drugs against Covid-19. As soon as the trial is set up for delivery, it will be open to eligible participants from across the UK.

Prof Patel, a key member of the trial’s core team, said: “I’m really excited with this news and also by the prospect that there is a huge potential for pharmacy teams to help play a vital role in supporting this highly ambitious trial, as they have with the PRINCIPLE trial, now the world’s largest community based clinical trial for Covid19.”

He will continue to have a similar role with the trial as he did with the highly successful PRINCIPLE trial when he worked as its Pharmacy and Inclusion and Diversity lead, working closely with the pharmacy profession across different settings and collaborating with the various healthcare organizations as well as community and religious leaders UK-wide to support a fair, inclusive and diverse recruitment.

Patel added: “Covid-19 has affected people disproportionately and we want to reach out to all audiences and provide essential information about treatments to help in the fight against Covid-19. This includes those recognized as being most vulnerable such as people from ethnic minority communities, low socioeconomic backgrounds, the elderly as well as those with learning disabilities.”

As part of the UK-wide study, researchers from the University of Oxford, University of Southampton, Cardiff University, University College London, and University of Liverpool will work together with NHS health and social care organizations in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to encourage eligible patients to participate in the trial.

The success of the trial — which is funded by the National Institute for Health Research — will not only help people in getting early treatment for the deadly infection, but also prevent hospitalizations, and deaths.

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