Coronavirus (COVID-19): Treatments

Getting your coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccination is still the best way to protect yourself from the virus.

Treatments may be available if you're at highest risk of becoming seriously ill from coronavirus. You need to be given treatment quickly after your symptoms start for it to be effective.

Who is eligible for coronavirus treatment?

You're eligible to be assessed for treatment if all of the following apply:

  • you're aged 12 or over
  • you have symptoms of coronavirus that started in the last 5 days that aren't getting better
  • you're at highest risk of getting seriously ill from coronavirus
  • you've tested positive for coronavirus
People at highest risk

You may be at highest risk if you have any of the following conditions:

  • Down's syndrome, or another chromosomal disorder that affects your immune system
  • certain types of cancer, or have received treatment for certain types of cancer
  • sickle cell disease
  • certain conditions affecting your blood
  • chronic kidney disease (CKD) stage 4 or 5
  • severe liver disease
  • had an organ transplant
  • certain autoimmune or inflammatory conditions (such as rheumatoid arthritis or inflammatory bowel disease)
  • HIV or AIDS and have a weakened immune system
  • a condition affecting your immune system
  • a condition affecting the brain or nerves, such as multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, motor neurone disease, myasthenia gravis, Huntington's disease, Parkinson’s disease or certain types of dementia
  • certain lung conditions or treatments for lung conditions

This list is a summary and does not cover everything.

You should be told if you are eligible for coronavirus treatment. If you think you are eligible but have not been told, speak to your doctor or specialist who can confirm it.

Find more guidance for highest risk patients eligible for coronavirus treatment on GOV.UK

The decision to treat will normally be made by a multi-disciplinary team after carefully weighing the risks and benefits. They'll take into consideration the recommendations from the independent advisory group, which determined the list of potentially eligible patient groups.

Treatments for coronavirus

The treatments available for people at the highest risk of becoming seriously ill from coronavirus are:

Nirmatrelvir, ritonavir, remdesivir and molnupiravir are antiviral medicines.

Sotrovimab is a biological medicine. It is also known as a neutralising monoclonal antibody (nMAb). Sotrovimab may be given to people if antiviral medicines are unsuitable for them to take.

Some treatments come as capsules or tablets that you swallow. Others are given to you through a drip in your arm (infusion), usually in a hospital or local health centre.

These treatments can help some people manage their coronavirus symptoms and reduce the risk of becoming seriously ill.

The NHS will advise which treatment, if any, is right for you.

If you need to go into hospital for coronavirus, you may get other treatments.

Accessing testing

If you're eligible for coronavirus treatments, you should keep a pack of lateral flow device (LFD) tests at home.

You can order a free pack for home delivery online or by phoning 119.

When you enter a Scottish postcode, the online order form will say ‘Most people in Scotland can no longer get free rapid lateral flow tests.’ Click 'Continue' if you’re eligible and you’ll be able to order.

If you develop symptoms, take a test to check if you have coronavirus.

Your LFD test is not complete until you report your result, either online or by phone, and receive a result confirmation notification.

Positive test result

If your test result is positive, you should:

  1. Contact your NHS health board on the number on this page. They'll check if treatment is right for you.
  2. Follow stay at home advice.

Negative test result

If your test result is negative, but you still have symptoms, you should take another test on each of the next 2 days. So take 3 tests in total over 3 days. If any of these tests is positive, follow the steps for a positive test result.

Accessing treatment

If you're eligible, contact the health board where you live to access treatment.

If you test positive while you're away from home (for example on holiday), contact your home Scottish health board where you permanently live. This is because your home health board (in Scotland) will have access to more information about you. They'll then help you to access the closest treatment service to where you currently are.

You may reach an answering machine and be asked to leave a message.

When you phone, have a list of medicines you're taking handy, including:

  • medicines prescribed by your GP practice or hospital
  • medicines prescribed privately outside of the NHS
  • any medicines bought from a pharmacy or shop without a prescription
  • herbal remedies and vitamin supplements
  • medicines that come in patches, inhalers, suppositories, lozenges, gels, ointments, or creams

Do not phone these numbers if you're seeking urgent medical advice or have a general health query.

Health board

Phone number

NHS Ayrshire & Arran 01563 825 610
NHS Borders 01896 827 015
NHS Dumfries & Galloway 01387 241 959
NHS Fife 01592 729 799
NHS Forth Valley 01786 434 110
NHS Grampian  01224 556 527
NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde 0800 121 7072
NHS Highland 0800 085 1558
NHS Lanarkshire 01355 585 145
NHS Lothian 0300 790 6769
NHS Orkney 01856 888 259
NHS Shetland 01595 743 393
NHS Tayside (open from 9am to 4pm Monday to Friday and from 9am to 1pm Saturday and Sunday) 01382 919 477
NHS Western Isles 01851 601 151

PANORAMIC Research Study

Coronavirus oral antiviral treatments are also being evaluated through a study called PANORAMIC, run by the University of Oxford.

The current stage of the study is evaluating a medicine called Paxlovid. This stage is taking place through localised study sites. This is because the health professionals recruiting participants into the study need access to medical record data to see if the medicine is suitable for individuals before they can enter the study.

Health boards taking part in this study are NHS Grampian, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, and NHS Lothian.

For more information about the study, and to register your interest in participating, visit the PANORAMIC trial website or contact

Last updated:
01 September 2023

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