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The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) and the British Islamic Medical Association (BIMA) joined forces in March to help promote the PANORAMIC trial as part of a series of outreach activities ahead of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, enabling greater outreach to diverse communities across Britain.

Lit lantern glowing against a fading sunset

The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) and the British Islamic Medical Association (BIMA) joined forces in March to help promote the PANORAMIC trial as part of a series of outreach activities ahead of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, enabling greater outreach to diverse communities across Britain. 

​​The Muslim Council of Britain is a diverse national umbrella body for over 500 Muslim organisations nationwide, empowering Muslim communities towards achieving a just, cohesive, and successful British society. The British Islamic Medical Association numbers more than 5000 members, all of whom are Muslim Healthcare professionals. 

Led by researchers from Oxford University and partnered with the National Institute for Health Research, the Platform Adaptive trial of NOvel antiviRals for eArly treatMent of covid-19 In the Community (PANORAMIC) study is working across all UK communities to evaluate if treatment administered early in the course of the COVID-19 illness can help people aged over 50 and those at higher risk recover quickly, without the need for hospital admission. With over 21,000 participants, PANORAMIC is by far the world's largest study into new antiviral treatments against COVID-19 in community and ambulatory care. 

PANORAMIC has also received invaluable support from the Muslim Doctors Cymru in reaching out to Muslim communities in Wales and people living in areas of high deprivation through resources developed in different languages.  

The PANORAMIC trial has been led with a sharp focus on diversity and inclusion, through developing grassroots partnerships with multiple groups within Britain. Professor Mahendra G Patel, PANORAMIC’s Pharmacy, Diversity and Inclusivity Lead, developed collaboration with a number of national Muslim organisations such as the MCB, BIMA, and in Wales with the Muslim Doctors Cymru (MDC). 

A series of successful outreach events within the Muslim community have been conducted. Both MCB and BIMA joined forces early March to help promote the PANORAMIC trial as part of a series of outreach activities ahead of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. These comprised of social media messages, graphics, with announcements made following Jummah (Friday midday prayers) by local Imams and Muslim community leaders in Mosques across Britain. The infographic shared was personalised to the Muslim community, and features a verse from the holy scripture of Islam, the Quran 5:32: "Whoever saved one life, it is as if they have saved the whole of humanity.”

On Saturday 12th March, Professor Patel joined Dr Zirva Khan for the British Islamic Medical Association in a television interview hosted by Dr Wajid Akhter, GP and Assistant Secretary General of MCB, on the Islam Channel, wherein the significance of the PANORAMIC trial and Ramadam were discussed, including a live phone-in for viewer questions. Islam Channel is the most popular Muslim television station in the UK, and is watched by some 58% of the Muslim community. 

Dr Wajid Akhter said:

“The unprecedented united response to theCovid pandemic in general and the promotion of the Covid vaccination campaign and PANORAMIC trial in particular, has shown how engaging faith communities via their trusted organisations can be transformative for public health campaigns. The messenger is as important as the message.” 

Professor Mahendra G Patel said: “We are determined to ensure that we are as inclusive as possible in our recruitment. To this effect, we have been working closely with national and local communities and religious organisations to help make the PANORAMIC trial more visible and easily accessible to as many people as possible including from ethnically diverse communities.” 

“The excellent work and collaboration with the Muslim Council of Britain combined with the British Islamic Medical Association, and the Muslim Doctors Cymru in Wales, has been hugely helpful and much appreciated in helping us to reach out to Muslim communities UK-wide and encouraging them to join the trial.” 

Chief Investigator of PANORAMIC, Professor Chris Butler from Oxford University’s Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences, said: “Ethnic minority communities have been known to be adversely and disproportionately affected by COVID-19. The PANORAMIC team is incredibly grateful for the support from these, and other, organisations. It is very important to reach out to as many communities as possible. PANORAMIC is a democratic, UK-wide clinical trial and is striving to be as inclusive as possible. We encourage people from all ethnic minority communities and people with other protected characteristics with COVID-19 to contribute to PANORAMIC, in order to help us make a big difference to the evidence that supports better care for everybody.”  

PANORAMIC is open to anyone that is currently experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, beginning in the last 5 days; has had a positive PCR or Lateral Flow test for COVID-19; and is aged 50 or over, or aged 18 or over with a pre-existing health condition. 

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