The United KIngdom’s medical regulatory agency approved the use of the world’s first COVID pill. This is potentially a game-changer as health organizations depended only on vaccines against the coronavirus.
With this antiviral COVID pill developed by Merck & Co with Ridgeback Biotherapeutics, science now has a treatment.
UK Approves Use of Molnupiravir, the World’s First COVID Pill
Britain’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) approved the use of molnupiravir. The COVID pill will be issued to patients with mild to moderate COVID-19 symptoms.
In addition, patients should have at least one risk factor for developing severe illness. This includes old age diabetes, obesity, and heart disease.
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Specifically, the pill is recommended soon as patients register a positive COVID test and within five days of experiencing symptoms.
Meanwhile, the MHRA’s approval for the use of molnupiravir marks the first approval for the treatment of COVID-19. In addition, the drug is the first oral antiviral treatment and the first drug for widespread administration.
Across the pond, US health experts will meet by November 30 to review the COVID pill’s safety and efficacy. Afterward, the panel will vote on whether to give molnupiravir an emergency use authorization.
COVID Pill Dosage Designed For Five Days
Molnupiravir will carry the brand name Lagevrio in the UK. The makers of the COVID pill designed it to insert errors into coronavirus’ genetic code and prevent it from causing COVID-19. Merck recommends a twice-a-day dosage for five days.
Earlier studies link drugs in the same class as molnupiravir to birth defects in animal studies., Merck clarified that earlier animal testing showed that molnupiravir is safe. However, the company has yet made public the results of its testing.
Other Pharma Companies Looking Beyond Vaccines
COVID-19 has killed an estimated 5 million people worldwide. Many of the biotech and pharmaceutical companies focused on creating vaccines to address the problem.
Others, such a Gilead’s Remdesivir, were only issued to COVID patients after hospitalization. However, Merck took the novel approach of introducing an antiviral in pill form.
Since then, medical experts all over the world have closely monitored the progress of molnupiravir’s testing. In particular, scientists remain intrigued over the drug’s ability to cut by half a COVID-infected patient’s chances of dying or hospitalization.
UK Plans to Give Molnupiravir To Higher Risk Patients This Winter
Meanwhile, Professor Stephen Powis, national medical director for the National Health Service (NHS), said they’ll start using molnupiravir.
Initially, they will administer the drug to patients at higher risk of complications. The country is heading into a very cold winter, which can cause outbreaks as people huddle for warmth.
If the initial rollout shows that the COVID pill reduces deaths and hospitalization, the UK will expand its use.
“We are now working across government and the NHS to urgently get this treatment to patients initially through a national study so we can collect more data on how antivirals work in a mostly vaccinated population,” UK vaccines minister Maggie Throup told parliament.
Watch the CBC News video reporting that UK authorizes Merck’s pill to treat COVID-19:
Will you take Molnupiravir as an anti-COVID pill? Do you prefer a COVID treatment in pill form instead of a vaccine?
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