UK approves oral antiviral pill for COVID-19 treatment

Amarachi Okeh

The United Kingdom has become the first country to approve the use of oral antiviral pills to treat mild to moderate COVID-19.

As reported by CNN, The UK Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency on Thursday authorised Merck and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics’ oral antiviral, molnupiravir, for treating mild-to-moderate COVID-19 in adults at risk for severe illness.

Molnupiravir is the world’s first oral antiviral to be authorised anywhere for the treatment of COVID-19. The drug comes in capsule form and will be known as Lagevrio.

The pharmaceutical company, Merck and Ridgeback also said the European Medicines Agency has initiated a rolling review of its marketing application.

Recall that Merk had last month announced that the capsule reduced the risk of hospitalisation or death from COVID-19 by half.

“At the interim analysis, molnupiravir reduced the risk of hospitalization or death by approximately 50%; 7.3% of patients who received molnupiravir were either hospitalized or died through Day 29 following randomization (28/385), compared with 14.1% of placebo treated patients (53,377).

“Through Day 29, no deaths were reported in patients who received molnupiravir, as compared to 8 deaths in patients who received placebo,” the company said in press release in October.

The data of the study, according to CNN, is yet to be peer-reviewed but has spurred excitement about a potentially easy, accessible treatment for COVID-19.


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