Covid-19 antiviral drug is a recovery game-changer

11 April 2022

Helen West Paxlovid case study square.jpgThe Covid-19 antiviral drug Paxlovid, developed by Pfizer, has been used by a woman in Medway with outstanding results.

Helen West, 56, from Walderslade (pictured right), has Ankylosing spondylitis, a rare long-term condition in which the spine and other areas of the body become inflamed, painful and stiff.

After testing positive for Covid-19 and registering the result on the NHS app, mother-of two Helen was contacted by her consultant at Medway NHS Foundation Trust and offered Paxlovid.

Helen, who works as a patient and public engagement offer for the charity Guts UK, said: “At the start of having covid, I felt fine, just a bit tired, but two days in I had an extremely sore throat, to the point where I couldn’t swallow or talk. I could barely walk. My joints were so painful, and I could feel myself going down. 

“Although I initially declined Paxlovid because I didn’t feel too bad, I changed my mind and phoned the hospital to request it. 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.

“If you have an underlying health condition and offered Paxlovid, I would highly recommend it. I’d heard of the antiviral drugs but I wasn’t sure that I qualified and I didn’t expect the phone call. Covid hit me hard but Paxlovid really made a positive difference to my recovery.”

Professor Stephen Powis, NHS national medical director, said: “It’s fantastic that since launching the latest antiviral treatment Paxlovid just over a month ago, thousands of our most vulnerable patients have already had access to this latest cutting-edge, life-saving treatment.

“Antivirals are another weapon in our arsenal to reduce hospital admissions and fatalities among patients at highest risk of becoming seriously ill from Covid-19 and needing hospitalisation. Each and every person treated with these new drugs is testament to how the NHS is doing everything possible to protect those who are at most risk. 

“Getting vaccinated is still the best way to protect you and your loved ones from covid, and to date, our world-leading vaccination programme has delivered more than 119 million doses including more than 32 million boosters. I would urge anyone who hasn’t yet been jabbed to come forward for your first, second or booster jab as soon as possible.”

What is Paxlovid?

Paxlovid is an antiviral medicine used for treating mild-to-moderate Covid-19 in adults.

It stops the virus multiplying in cells and this stops the virus multiplying in the body. This can help the patient to overcome the virus infection and may help them get better faster.

More than 150 patients across Kent and Medway have been prescribed Paxlovid thanks to Medway NHS Foundation Trust’s pharmacy department running the prescribing service for the area.

Paxlovid is most effective when taken during the early stages of infection and so the Medicines and Healthcare Regulatory Agency (MHRA) recommends its use as soon as possible and within five days of the start of symptoms.

Paxlovid could be a life-saver for vulnerable adults, who are at higher risk of developing more severe covid infection and requiring hospitalisation, as it can help the patient to overcome the virus infection and may help them to get better faster.

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