Thousands of participants who have tested positive for Covid-19 are needed to take part in a life-saving study

A leading Wakefield pharmacist, who was awarded an OBE in the 2022 new year’s honours list is playing a key role in the fight to combat Covid-19.

By Julie Marshall
Monday, 7th February 2022, 5:16 pm

Professor Mahendra Patel is the pharmacy, inclusion and diversity lead in the UK-wide Panoramic study, run by the University of Oxford.

The study aims to recruit thousands of clinically vulnerable people who have tested positive for Covid-19 and have symptoms to give them the chance to receive new potentially life-saving antivirals.

So far more than 7,000 have been signed up in less than eight weeks, making it the fastest-recruiting trial of its kind ever in the UK.

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Professor Mahendra Patel OBE who is playing a key role in the fight to combat Covid-19.

Professor Patel said: “It is vital to ensure that the study is made as widely accessible as possible to all sections of the community regardless of where they live, their background or their ethnicity.

“We have been sharing information about the study through community leaders, places of worship and have developed a host of videos and posters in different languages shared through a range of social media platforms.

“These new antivirals have recently been approved for use in those deemed to be clinically at highest risk of becoming severely ill and being hospitalised.

“We are now evaluating how much they can help to reduce the severity of symptoms and prevent hospitalisation or death in the next risk category of people, which includes those over 50 and those aged 18 and over with any underlying health conditions.”

The government, along with several leading national charities such as Kidney Care UK, Cystic Fibrosis Trust, Diabetes UK and the British Liver Trust, put out an urgent call for at least 6,000 more participants to come forward for the treatments.

Those eligible can sign up to the study as soon as they receive a positive PCR or lateral flow test result.

They need to enroll within the first five days of experiencing Covid-19 symptoms to be eligible.

Molnupiravir is the first antiviral in the world to be licensed purposely for use in the early treatment of Covid-19 and be deployed through the study.

Previous large-scale studies in countries outside the UK have reported reduced infection rate in those at risk, non-hospitalised adults with mild to moderate Covid-19 by 30 per cent.

This could potentially save thousands of lives if the drugs are made available through the NHS to those most in need once there is sufficient evidence to support its use.

Professor Sir Jonathan Van-Tam, deputy chief medical officer for England, said: “These drugs are already approved by the MHRA, but we need to see how much benefit they give to already vaccinated patients.”

Professor Patel added: “ As a Wakefield resident of more than 30 years I am keen that everyone within the district is aware of the Panoramic study and for them to help by playing their part in signing up for it if they are eligible to do so.

“Anyone taking part can do so from the comfort of their home with all study information, and if in the treatment arm, any medication, delivered to them free by courier. ”

For more information and to sign up to take part in the study go to