The World Health Organization (WHO) has given conditional recommendation for Molnupiravic, a new antiviral oral drug, for the treatment of COVID-19.
This is the first oral antiviral drug to be included in the treatment guidelines for COVID-19. WHO says there is little safety data on Molnupravic because it’s a new medicine, it therefore recommends active monitoring for drug safety, along with other strategies to mitigate potential harms.
“Because of these concerns and data gaps, Molnupiravir should be provided only to non-severe COVID-19 patients with the highest risk of hospitalization. These are typically people who have not received a COVID-19 vaccination, older people, people with immunodeficiencies and people living with chronic diseases”.
WHO guideline on the new drug recommends that Molnupiravir should not be given to children, pregnant women and breastfeeding women. Adding that people who take Molnupiravir should have a contraceptive plan, and health systems should ensure access to pregnancy testing and contraceptives at the point of care.
The new antiviral drug must be given under the care of a health care provider as four tablets (total 800 mg) twice daily for five days; within 5 days of symptom onset. If used as early as possible after infection, it can help prevent hospitalization says WHO
Though the drug, Molnupiravir, is not widely available, WHO says steps have been taken towards increasing access, including the signing of a voluntary licensing agreement. The Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator (ACT-A) is also making a limited supply available to countries with access constraints.
Apart from ACT-A efforts, WHO has also invited manufacturers to submit their products for prequalification, with a number of manufacturers of molnupiravir going through assessment now. WHO evaluates the quality, safety and efficacy of medical products for United Nations and other large suppliers to low- and middle-income countries. More WHO quality-assured manufacturers mean that countries have a greater choice of products and more competitive prices.
Source: Dare Agbeluyi, Chief Publisher, With WHO Report.
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