Molnupiravir, developed by US-based Merck Sharp & Dohme Corporation, is the first oral antiviral for the treatment of Covid-19 with The United Kingdom (UK) becoming the first country in the world to approve the drug for use on patients.
While approving the pill, UK’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency announced that the drug has been authorised for use in people who have mild to moderate COVID-19 and at least one risk factor for developing severe illness.
However, in India, the Molnupiravir is undergoing trials, while in the US it is being evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Speaking to the mediapersons on the use of the oral drug for Covid-19 patients in Odisha, the State Health Services Director, Bijay Mohapatra said that the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) is yet to approve the medicine. And as soon as the drug regulatory body gives nod to Molnupiravir, the drug will be used in the treatment of patients in the State too.
“The DCGI is yet to give its approval for the use of Molnupiravir. As per reports, the oral drug has helped reduce hospitalisation and mortality rates by at least 50 per cent. The UK government has allowed the drug for emergency use. If the DCGI approves the use of Molnupiravir in the country, we will definitely approve the medicine for the treatment of patients here,” said Mohapatra.
Molnupiravir (MK-4482, EIDD-2801) was initially developed to treat influenza but it was repurposed to treat Covid patients. It interferes with the replication of SARS-CoV-2, thereby reducing the severity of the disease. It is most effective when used early; the UK has recommended its use as soon as possible following a positive test and within five days of symptoms onset.
Odisha on Wednesday recorded 387 cases of Coronavirus, of which 75 cases are in the age group of below 18 years and 4 deaths due to the disease. This has taken the Covid-19 positivity tally in the State to 1044428 and the death toll to 8,368.
The active cases in the State stood at 2,980 while 10,33,027 patients have recovered from the disease so far.