UK becomes first country to approve molnupiravir to treat Covid-19

November 4, 2021 0 By CH Unnikrishnan

The UK Medicine Agency has become the first country in the world to approve molnupiravir, Merck’s (MSD) new drug for Covid-19 treatment, after finding it 90 percent effective in preventing the disease’s progress and severity. As per the approval, the patient can start taking the medicine within five days of the symptom onset.  Molnupiravir, is the first oral anti-viral drug that patients could take at home to ease symptoms and speed up recovery.

The drug is also awaiting approval in the US. But the FDA has asked its outside experts to meet late November to scrutinise the treatment claims of the drug, signalling that the US regulator will conduct a detailed review of the experimental treatment’s safety and effectiveness. The panelists are likely to vote on whether Merck’s drug should be approved, although the FDA is not required to follow their advice. 

The US regulator has so far authorised a few antibody drugs since last year but they are expensive, hard to produce and require specialty equipment and health professionals to deliver. If authorised, Merck’s drug, molnupiravir, would be the first that patients could take at home to ease symptoms and speed up recovery.