City woman who won Tipping Point takes part in 'game changer' Covid trial

Ronnie Fisher

Ronnie Fisher who took part in a coronavirus pill trial. - Credit: National Institute for Health Research

A woman from Norwich who won Tipping Point has taken part in a research trial for a "game changer" coronavirus pill.

Ronnie Fisher, who works as an administrative manager in the NHS, started to feel unwell in January of this year. 

After it was confirmed that she had Covid she was approached by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) to take part in a trial.

The research centre, based in Norwich, is trialing the molnupiravir pill which is intended for use in the early stages of the infection by people at higher risk of Covid complications.

The 47-year-old, who won the ITV gameshow in 2018, said she agreed to take part in the trial to prevent people from feeling as unwell as she did. 

"My view on it is, if I can help anybody else to lessen the effects of Covid and not go through things as badly as I did and prevent it from potentially worsening then I’m there," she said. 

The Platform Adaptive trial of NOvel antiviRals for eArly treatMent of Covid-19 In the Community (PANORAMIC) tests if the pill helps clinically vulnerable people recover sooner.

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Half of the participants are randomly allocated to receive the antiviral treatment plus standard care, while the other half receive just standard care.

Ms Fisher took four tablets twice a day and filled out a daily diary to say how she was feeling.

She said: "You take your paracetamol and you kind of know what it is going to do, but with these pills you don’t.

"In all honesty though, it is either saved me or I simply wasn’t going to get worse.

"To me, taking part was no problem at all though, it was really easy.

"It didn’t impact my life apart from spending 10 minutes a day taking the tablets and updating the diary."

The trial still needs more volunteers, specifically adults under the age of 50 who have an underlying health condition or anyone aged over 50.

Dr Serge Engamba, the eastern deputy primary care lead for NIHR Clinical Research Network, added: "If we could find a treatment that people can take at home to help them recover quicker that would be good for patients and could help ease some pressure on the NHS."