On Thursday, the United Kingdom became the first country internationally to approve a possibly game-changing coronavirus antiviral pill mutually developed by United States-oriented Merck & Co Inc. and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics, in a boost to combat the deadly pandemic. The U.K.-based Medicines & Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) approved the pill, molnupiravir, for use in individuals with minor to moderate coronavirus and at least one risk factor for evolving severe sickness, like heart disease, obesity, and older age diabetes.
🚨🇬🇧Britain becomes the first country with a pill to treat #COVID19.
— Terror Alarm (@terror_alarm) November 4, 2021
The health regulator said that it would be given to the patient as early as possible after a positive coronavirus test and within five days of the beginning of symptoms. So, the green signal is the first for an oral antiviral drug treatment for coronavirus. The United States advisers will meet on 30th November to review the efficacy and safety data of the drug and vote on whether to authorize molnupiravir.
How to administer molnupiravir pill to combat coronavirus?
The COVID-19 pill designed to announce errors in the genetic code of the COVID-19 that causes the sickness, and the patient will take it twice a day for five days. On the other hand, during the animal studies, drugs in the same class as molnupiravir associated with birth defects. Merck, identified as MSD outside of Canada and the United States, said that animal testing of the pill shows that molnupiravir is safe, but it didn’t share the statistics publicly.
Treatments to combat the fatal pandemic, which killed over 5.2 million people globally, so far focused majorly on vaccines. Other options, including generic steroid dexamethasone, Gilead’s infused COVID antiviral remdesivir, are generally only administered after a patient is hospitalized. In addition, the regulators closely watched Molnupiravir since statistics last month revealed it could have the chances of hospitalization or death for those patients at risk of complications as the United Kingdom heads into winters.
A comprehensive rollout of the pill will follow if it is clinically cost-effective in cutting death and hospitalizations. Britain vaccines minister Maggie Throup told parliament that the team is working across government and the National Health Service to immediately administer this treatment to patients primarily through a nationwide study as it can gather more statistics on how antivirals work in a mostly inoculated population.
Government is Facing Pressure to Implement Plan B
The quick approval in the United Kingdom, which was also the primary Western nation to approve a coronavirus vaccine, comes as it fights to curb mounting infections. According to the recent 7-day average, the U.K. has around forty thousand new daily cases of coronavirus. It is second only to the approximately seventy-four thousand per day in the U.S., which has five times more residents and drove criticism of the decision of the government to withdraw most COVID-19-related restrictions.
The Wednesday statistics revealed coronavirus cases in England hit their peak level last month, led by a huge number of cases in children and an increase in the southwest of the country. Moreover, the government faces soaring pressure to implement its Plan B intended to protect the National Health System from varying demands, involving work-from-home orders, face mask mandates, and vaccine passes.