The UK has approved the world’s first pill to fight Covid-19 after clinical trials found it to be effective.
Britain has become the first country in the world to approve the groundbreaking Covid-19 pill, as Pfizer has also announced results of studies for its own tablets.
Developed by American pharmaceutical Merck & Co Inc (Merck) and biotechnology company Ridgeback Biotherapeutics, the new molnupiravir drug, has been recommended by the the UK’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) for use in people with moderate Covid-19 who are at risk of developing serious illnesses.
The pill is to be administered following a positive Covid-19 test, and within a five day period, twice a day, health authorities in the UK have advised.
Molnupiravir, known under the name of Lagevrio in the UK, is designed to introduce errors into the genetic code of the virus that causes the novel coronavirus.
This is the first such approval for an oral antiviral treatment for Covid-19. American advisers will meet on 30 November to review the drug’s safety, as well as efficacy data, and take a vote on whether it should be authorised.
The marks a new direction for treatments used to tackle the global health crisis, which has so far claimed the lives of over 5.2 million people. So far, vaccines have been at the forefront of prevention.
Pfizer’s drug, Paxlovid, has been shown to cut the risk of hospitalisation or death by 89% in vulnerable adults according to clinical trial results.
The UK has already ordered 250,000 courses of Paxlovid, which has not yet been approved, along with another 480,000 courses of molnupiravir.