Britain became the first country in the world on Thursday to approve the oral antiviral drug molnupiravir from the pharmaceutical company Merck, intended for the treatment of a new type of coronavirus. This was reported by Reuters and AP.
“Today is a historic day for our country, as Britain became the first country in the world to approve an anti-covid-19 antiviral that can be taken at home.” said the British Minister for Health, saying that the government and the British National Health Service would work to allow molnupiravir to be given to patients as soon as possible.
Twice a day, five days
The UK Medicines and Health Products Regulatory Authority has conditionally approved this medicine for people over the age of 18 who have tested positive for coronavirus and are at risk of developing severe covid disease.
Molnupiravir should also be administered twice daily for five days to patients with a mild course of disease treated at home.
The British regulatory authority also recommended that the drug be used in the patient as soon as possible after a positive coronavirus test, but no later than within five days.
Molnupiravir is still pending approval by European and US regulatory authorities.
It won’t get to everyone
However, the AP news agency warns that deliveries of molnupiravir will be limited. Merck said it plans to produce as many pills by the end of this year as ten million treatments, and by 2022 at least 20 million.
At the same time, Britain announced in October that it had already secured pills for 480,000 treatment cycles.
Last month, Merck published the results of clinical studies showing that its anti-covid drug in the early stages of infection reduces the risk of hospitalization or death of a coronavirus-infected patient by half.
This antiviral drug can alleviate the symptoms of a coronavirus infection and speed up its treatment, which could be a turning point in the fight against a pandemic.
Molnupiravir would relieve the pressure on hospitals and prevent outbreaks in poorer countries.
In addition, it would also be possible to combat a pandemic in two ways – drug-treated treatment or a preventive form of vaccination.