PFIZER’S Covid-busting pill will be available to over-50s battling the virus at home from this week.
Use of the drug Paxlovid will be stepped up after trials showed it slashed the risk of hospital admission by up to 88 per cent.
About 32,000 high-risk patients have already taken it to keep them off wards but experts want to offer it to more people, starting with 17,500 deemed medium risk.
Health Secretary Sajid Javid said: “As we learn to live with Covid, the UK continues to lead the way in using cutting-edge treatments which have already saved many lives.”
The drug will be made available through the Panoramic trial, run by Oxford University, with people who test positive able to sign up online.
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People must be at home, aged over 50 or have a serious health condition, and in the first five days of symptoms to be eligible.
The NHS Confederation accused Downing Street of abandoning plans to protect the health service from the bug.
But last night No10 said: “Our living with Covid plan still stands.”