Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Background: Timely evidence of the comparative effectiveness between COVID-19 therapies in real-world settings is needed to inform clinical care. This study aimed to compare the effectiveness of nirmatrelvir/ritonavir versus sotrovimab and molnupiravir in preventing severe COVID-19 outcomes in non-hospitalised high-risk COVID-19 adult patients during Omicron waves. Methods: With the approval of NHS England, we conducted a real-world cohort study using the OpenSAFELY-TPP platform. Patient-level primary care data were obtained from 24 million people in England and were securely linked with data on COVID-19 infection and therapeutics, hospital admission, and death, covering a period where both nirmatrelvir/ritonavir and sotrovimab were first-line treatment options in community settings (February 10, 2022–November 27, 2022). Molnupiravir (third-line option) was used as an exploratory comparator to nirmatrelvir/ritonavir, both of which were antivirals. Cox proportional hazards model stratified by area was used to compare the risk of 28-day COVID-19 related hospitalisation/death across treatment groups. Findings: A total of 9026 eligible patients treated with nirmatrelvir/ritonavir (n = 5704) and sotrovimab (n = 3322) were included in the main analysis. The mean age was 52.7 (SD = 14.9) years and 93% (8436/9026) had three or more COVID-19 vaccinations. Within 28 days after treatment initiation, 55/9026 (0.61%) COVID-19 related hospitalisations/deaths were observed (34/5704 [0.60%] treated with nirmatrelvir/ritonavir and 21/3322 [0.63%] with sotrovimab). After adjusting for demographics, high-risk cohort categories, vaccination status, calendar time, body mass index and other comorbidities, we observed no significant difference in outcome risk between nirmatrelvir/ritonavir and sotrovimab users (HR = 0.89, 95% CI: 0.48–1.63; P = 0.698). Results from propensity score weighted model also showed non-significant difference between treatment groups (HR = 0.82, 95% CI: 0.45–1.52; P = 0.535). The exploratory analysis comparing nirmatrelvir/ritonavir users with 1041 molnupiravir users (13/1041 [1.25%] COVID-19 related hospitalisations/deaths) showed an association in favour of nirmatrelvir/ritonavir (HR = 0.45, 95% CI: 0.22–0.94; P = 0.033). Interpretation: In routine care of non-hospitalised high-risk adult patients with COVID-19 in England, no substantial difference in the risk of severe COVID-19 outcomes was observed between those who received nirmatrelvir/ritonavir and sotrovimab between February and November 2022, when Omicron subvariants BA.2, BA.5, or BQ.1 were dominant. Funding: UK Research and Innovation, Wellcome Trust, UK Medical Research Council, National Institute for Health and Care Research, and Health Data Research UK.

Original publication




Journal article


The Lancet Regional Health - Europe

Publication Date