Never miss a story

Get subscribed to our newsletter


×
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health/wikipedia

This oral medicine is considered best to fight covid-19.

In response to concerns about the safety of Molnupiravir, an oral antiviral medication licenced to treat Covid-19, Indian health officials have stated that the drug's advantages outweigh the hazards it may pose in high-risk patients.

The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) in the United Kingdom has licenced it for the treatment of mild-to-moderate Covid-19 in individuals with a high risk of severe disease development, namely those with pre-existing (comorbid) diseases.

Keep Reading Show less

Popular

Photo by Wikimedia Common

Covid antiviral drug Molnupiravir was on Monday launched in India at Rs 1,399 for a five-day course for mild to moderate infection.

Covid antiviral drug Molnupiravir was on Monday launched in India at Rs 1,399 for a five-day course for mild to moderate infection.

Amid rising cases of new Covid variant Omicron in the country, an expert panel of the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation had recently approved antiviral drug Molnupiravir for restricted use in emergency situation.

Along with Molnupiravir, the CDSCO has also granted emergency use authorisation to the Serum Institute of India's Covid vaccine COVOVAX, Hyderabad based Biological E RBD Protein CORBEVAX.

Molnupiravir is an antiviral medication that inhibits the replication of certain RNA viruses. It is used to treat COVID-19 in those infected by SARS-CoV-2. The recommended dose of Molnupiravir 800 mg is twice a day for five days. A patient needs to take 40 capsules containing 200 mg of medication. Over a dizen pharma companies including Torrent, Cipla, Sun Pharma, Dr Reddy's, Natco, Mylan, and Hetero are in the process to manufacture the oral pill.

Cipla, Sun Pharma, and Dr Reddy's Laboratories are also expected to release Molnupiravir capsules in the coming weeks.

Molnupiravir, developed by MSD and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics, is also the first oral anti-Covid pill approved by UK's drug regulator. The US Food and Drug Administration (USFDA) has also cleared Molnupiravir for the treatment of mild-to-moderate Covid-19 in adults, and for those who are at a high risk to severe disease.

(IANS/JB)

Keep Reading Show less
Photo by Wikimedia Commons

Anti-viral drug Molnupiravir may emerge as the game changer in the fight against Covid-19.

Anti-viral drug Molnupiravir may emerge as the game-changer in the fight against Covid-19 as studies suggest it can reduce the risk of hospitalization or death in newly diagnosed patients, an expert says.

Distinguished cardiologist and health systems expert Dr. Krishna Reddy Nallamalla believes that Molnupiravir as an effective oral drug for the treatment of Covid-19 assumes significance as cases are still being reported despite vaccines, which are not as effective against the spread of the virus and have lower efficacy against certain variants.

Almost two years since the onset of the pandemic, the world has reported close to 250 million positive cases and 5 million deaths, while half a million cases are still being reported every day.

"We have face masks, vaccines, and steroids to fight the pandemic. We also have the expensive injectable antiviral drug Remedesivir and the monoclonal antibody cocktail for those who can afford these. Most of the oral drugs, including chloroquine, ivermectin, anti-HIV drugs, anti-hepatitis drugs.. did not stand the scrutiny of scientific studies. Some others had weak evidence to be of large-scale," said Dr. Krishna Reddy, who is also President of InOrder, a nonprofit institute working to strengthen systems to secure the health and Regional Director (South Asia) of global health non-profit, ACCESS Health International.

"Despite the development of Covid-19 vaccines in a record time period, the world continues to witness daily positive cases of half a million. While vaccines have been effective against moderate to severe illness, they have not been as effective against the spread of the virus. In addition, the efficacy is lower against certain new variants. Another growing concern has been the rapid decline in neutralizing antibodies within six months after the second dose necessitating the booster dose in people at high risk," he said.

He also pointed out that the inequity in access to vaccines has been glaring within and between countries.

On how Molnupiravir helps, Krishna Reddy said that the basic building blocks of coronavirus are ribonucleic acids (RNA), and their analogs can produce mutations that are lethal to the virus. While Remedesivir is an analog and is demonstrated to reduce hospital stay in moderately-ill Covid patients, it is expensive and has to be given through the intravenous route.

"Molnupiravir was earlier developed as an oral drug against influenza. It is also an analog of ribonucleic acids, similar to Remedesivir. In a preprint published in June, virus isolation was noted in 1.6 per cent of those patients receiving Molnupiravir compared to 16.7 per cent of those receiving placebo on day 3 and 0 per cent and 11.1 per cent respectively on day 5," Krishna Reddy said.

Merck and Ridgeback have announced on October 11, the submission of an emergency use authorization application to the US FDA for the treatment of mild to moderate cases (room air oxygen saturation more than 93 per cent at rest).

The submission is based on positive results from a planned interim analysis from the phase 3 MOVe-OUT clinical trial, which evaluated Molnupiravir in non-hospitalized adults with mild to moderate Covid illness who were at risk to progress to severe Covid requiring hospitalization.

In the interim analysis, there was a 50 per cent reduction in risk of hospitalization or death (7.3 per cent with drug vs 14.1 per cent with placebo) with Molnupiravir. Full results of the trial are awaited.

Merck has previously announced that it has entered into non-exclusive voluntary licensing agreements for Molnupiravir with six established Indian generic manufacturers to accelerate the availability of the drug in more than 100 low- and middle-income countries (LMIC), following approval or EUA by their respective regulatory bodies.

The arrival of an effective and affordable oral drug has long been awaited in the fight against Covid-19 across the world and more so in LMIC which are yet to receive sufficient quantities of vaccines.

There is also growing concerned about the duration of efficacy of the vaccines and their efficacy against new variants. Many rich countries have started booster doses while many developing countries are still waiting for their first doses.

Krishna Reddy believes that India is in a unique position to supply the needed vaccines to countries awaiting them and also the affordable generic oral Molnupiravir, to derive significant geopolitical mileage.

"Reaching the milestone of one billion vaccine doses, India has exhibited remarkable resilience despite the devastating second wave that was driven by the Delta variant. It has restarted its vaccine exports to other countries. It is in a position to start exports of the new effective oral drug that the world has been eagerly awaiting," he added. (IANS/JB)

Keywords: India, Coronavirus, Medicines, Molnupiravir