Understanding the Who, What, Where and When of Antiviral Treatments for COVID-19


Several antiviral treatments for COVID-19 are now widely available. But many of the people who could benefit from the lifesaving treatments simply don’t know what to ask, who to ask or how to access the antiviral treatment that might be right for them.

The CDC Foundation and Vaccine Equity Cooperative recently hosted a webinar specifically designed to provide community-based organizations (CBOs), health workforces and federally qualified health centers (FQHCs) the latest information and resources on antivirals. The webinar also focused on strategies and best practices for raising awareness about the effectiveness of antivirals in the early stage of infection—particularly for those at higher risk for severe illness.

The webinar featured expert panelists from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the White House COVID-19 Response Team, the National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC) and the G.A. Carmichael Family Health Center in Mississippi.

Among the key takeaways:

  • Based on current treatment guidelines, Paxlovid and Remdesivir are the preferred therapies for patients at high risk of progressing to severe COVID-19 disease. A couple of alternative therapies are available when the preferred options are not feasible or clinically appropriate. The webinar covered questions around eligibility, dosing, duration and drug interactions, as well as potential side effects and COVID-19 rebound after Paxlovid treatment.
  • Federal programs such as the Test to Treat initiative aim to get antivirals into as many communities as possible. The webinar included tips and points of contact for finding and establishing Test to Treat locations to help ensure timely and equitable access to free testing, diagnosis and treatment—all in one place.
  • “The biggest barrier is still people just knowing about the availability of treatment and how and when to access it,” said Dr. Julia Skapik, chief medical information officer for NACHC. She stressed the importance of educating not only patients but also providers and care teams who may be unintentionally slow to identify eligible patients or hesitant to prescribe the treatments.
  • “There is [COVID] fatigue everywhere. But when we help one another and we partner and we share our resources, we then have the strength we need to make it yet another day,” said Dr. James Coleman Jr., chief executive officer of the G.A. Carmichael Family Health Center. He described how his organization has been able to utilize a mobile unit, marketing, a modular unit with a negative-pressure room and other innovative approaches to build trust and overcome access barriers to COVID testing and treatment.

For more information, check out the full webinar. It’s packed with information you can share with friends, family and your community at large—so everyone understands their options and can act quickly in the event of a positive COVID-19 test or diagnosis.


The webinar was the latest in a series of CDC Foundation capacity-building events for CBOs. It is archived—along with other webinars of interest—on our CBO Resource Page


This blog post is supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of a financial assistance award totaling $68,939,536 with 100 percent funded by CDC/HHS. The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement by, CDC/HHS or the U.S. Government.  

Headshot of Hannah Buchdahl
Hannah Buchdahl is a COVID-19 Corps senior communications officer for the CDC Foundation.