From 16 December, the NHS will be offering new antibody and antiviral treatments to people who have tested positive with COVID-19, who are at the highest risk of becoming seriously ill.
While ataxia has not been listed specifically as one of the diseases eligible for treatment, if you have previously been advised that you fall into the extremely vulnerable category (i.e. advised to ‘shield’) you should already be registered with the national Shielded Patient List (SPL) and therefore qualify for treatment should you test positive for COVID-19.
If you are eligible for a COVID-19 treatment, you should be sent a PCR test kit to keep at home. A PCR test is a test that you do at home and send to a lab to get the result.
Call 119 if you think you may be eligible for treatment but have not received your test kit by 10 January 2022.
You can find out more information here: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/treatments-for-coronavirus/
Anyone with an ataxia diagnosis plus any of the below should be included in the ‘extremely vulnerable’ category:
- Over 70 years of age
- Additional comorbidites including: diabetes, cardiac conditions such as cardiomyopathy, or respiratory conditions such as chronic lung diseases
- Wheelchair bound or living in a care home
- On medication that suppresses the immune system
- Autoimmune ataxia receiving mycophenolate
Antiviral medicines are also available through a national trial, run by the University of Oxford. Click here for more information on accessing treatment through this trial. The trial is open to people in the UK who:
- have tested positive for COVID-19 using a PCR test
- have COVID-19 symptoms that started within the last 5 days
- are aged 50 and over, or are aged 18 and over with a health condition that puts them at high risk of getting seriously ill from COVID-19 (this includes chronic neurological conditions)
This information has been written in collaboration with Prof Giunti and Suzanne Booth from the London Ataxia Centre at NHNN.
Please understand that this advice is given on the basis of the limited information provided, and that neither Ataxia UK nor the Medical Advisor can accept responsibility for any actions arising from it.