Fresh NHS treatment hope for clinically vulnerable children who test positive for covid

3 mins read

Tuesday 21 December 2021

Tags: Covid-19, Vulnerable children, PCR test, New treatments

Children aged 12 and over at highest risk of getting very sick with Covid-19 can now get new treatments if they test positive for coronavirus

The NHS is writing to eligible patients known to services advising them they can receive the new treatments if they test covid-positive via a PCR test. Letters are due to arrive over the next two weeks. 

The letter includes a home PCR test. If the patient tests positive using the home test, the NHS will contact them advise them on how they can access the new treatment.  

Patients need to receive the treatments within five days of a positive PCR test as the treatments are most effective in the early stages of infection.  

Studies show the two treatments, sotrovimab (Xevudy)   a neutralising monoclonal antibody given via a drip, and the oral antiviral molnupiravir (Lagevrio)  can reduce the risk of some people becoming seriously ill with covid. Sotrovimab is not approved for use in children under 12 years due to a lack of safety data while molnupiravir is only advised for people aged 18 and over. 

Who is eligible for these treatments?

Treatments for Covid-19 are available for people aged 12 and over who have tested positive for the virus and are at highest risk of getting seriously ill including some people who have one of the following: 

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

Contact’s health lead Amanda Elliot welcomed the new treatment options and urged the NHS to ensure they would be made available to all clinically vulnerable children who need them. 

“This is great news. As COVID rates soar again, families of extremely vulnerable children will feel reassured their children will have more treatment options if they get the virus.   During the pandemic there has been a pattern of this group of children being last on the list when it comes to access to protections, including covid vaccines

“We hope the NHS will make sure eligible covid-positive children do not have to fight for this treatment too. We will also be seeking clarification on whether these treatments are available off label for younger children,” she added.