June 27, 2022

The U.K government has granted conditional authorization to pharmaceutical company, Merck’s first pill that has been shown to be successfully treat COVID-19 so far, known as molnupiravir.

According to the authorities, the drug is currently been licensed for adults 18 and older who have tested positive for COVID-19 and may have at least one risk factor for developing severe disease.

About molnupiravir –

• The antiviral pill will help reduce symptoms and speeds recovery.
• Patients who may have mild-to-moderate COVID-19 would require to take four pills of the drug, twice a day for five days.
• Its initial supplies will be limited.
• The company can produce 10 million treatment courses through the end of the year, however a good quantity of it has already been purchased by governments worldwide.
• The company said molnupiravir to target an enzyme that the coronavirus uses to reproduce itself. It inserts errors into its genetic code that slows down its ability to spread and take over human cells.

The company mentioned that the drug’s review is currently pending with regulators in the U.S., the European Union and elsewhere. Last month, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced that it would organise a panel of independent experts in late November to examine the pill’s safety and effectiveness.

Last week, Merck had agreed to allow other drugmakers in the world to make its COVID-19 pill, in a move to help millions of people in developing countries get access.

According to a U.N.-backed group, Medicines Patent Pool mentioned that Merck under the agreement will not receive royalties as long as the World Health Organization considers COVID-19 to be a global emergency.

Merck had previously announced to enter into licensing deals with several Indian generic drugs making companies to manufacture lower-cost versions of molnupiravir for developing countries.

According to reports, the U.S. has agreed to pay roughly $700 per course for the drug that comes to about 1.7 million treatments. For developing countries specifically, it further plans to use a tiered pricing strategy.

The British government have cleared other treatments to treat COVID-19 in the country, such as steroids and monoclonal antibodies.