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29 Nov 2021

'Game changer' viral pill for Covid-19 approved in UK

'Game changer' viral pill for Covid-19 approved in UK

The drug works by preventing the virus from multiplying, keeping levels low in the body and therefore reducing the severity of the disease.

The first anti-viral pill for Covid-19 that can be taken at home has been approved for use in the UK.

Molnupiravir, developed by Ridgeback Biotherapeutics and Merck Sharp and Dohme (MSD) is for people who have had a positive Covid test and have at least one risk factor from developing a serious illness, such as obesity, being over the age of 60, diabetes or heart disease.

The drug works by preventing the virus from multiplying, keeping levels low in the body and therefore reducing the severity of the disease.

The UK’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) said the drug is safe and effective at reducing the risk of hospital admission and death in people with mild to moderate Covid who are at extra risk from the virus.

In a study, the tablet was given twice a day to patients recently diagnosed with the virus and found it cut the rate of hospital admission and death by 50 per cent in mild-to-moderately ill patients who had at least one risk factor for the disease.

The MHRA said the drug should be taken as soon as possible following a positive Covid-19 test and within the first five days.

UK Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid said that this new drug will be a game-changer for the most vulnerable and immunosuppressed.

“This antiviral will be an excellent addition to our armoury against Covid-19, and it remains vital everyone comes forward for their life-saving Covid-19 vaccine – particularly those eligible for a booster – to ensure as many people as possible are protected over the coming months", he added.

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