Govt Can Approve Anti-Covid Pill For All Indians: Gamechanger Moment Of Pandemic?

India as a country has done fairly well in inoculating its citizens with vaccines for covid 19. Still, the journey to complete vaccination of all citizens is a long one. Also, vaccination does not assure our complete guarantee of safety from the coronavirus. In that context, any other medical alternative to fight the virus is always welcome. Looks like we just might have reason to rejoice.

Molnupiravir : The Gamechanger?

According to reports, the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) is currently reviewing clinical trial data for molnupiravir, with a view to approving it in the coming days. Molnupiravir is the world’s first anti-COVID-19 antiviral drug.

Recently, Sun Pharma announced its plan to introduce the drug under the brand Molxvir at an “economical price” once approval is granted.

The drug has been developed by Merck & Co, Inc. which is an American multinational pharmaceutical company headquartered in Kenilworth, New Jersey. Merck has already announced that it is in talks with a number of Indian generic pharmaceuticals to provide equitable access to the drug to low-and-middle-income nations.

In April this year, Merck’s  Indian unit, MSD had established non-exclusive licensing agreements with five Indian drug manufacturers – Sun Pharma, Cipla, Hetero, Dr. Reddy’s, and Emcure.

What is Molnupiravir?

In October, US-based pharma major Merck revealed that its antiviral drug, molnupiravir reduced the risk of hospitalization by as much as 50 percent. Following the reports, UK regulators approved molnupiravir on November 4.

According to the company, the trial involved 775 unvaccinated participants, each of whom had “at least one risk factor associated with poor disease outcome” like obesity, diabetes, or heart disease. 

Participants were divided into two groups – one was administered the drug and another received placebo. In the placebo group, 53 patients or 14 percent were either hospitalized or succumbed to the infection. In comparison, the number was 28 or 7.3 percent in the drug group that received the treatment.

No deaths were reported in those that received molnupiravir compared with eight deaths among those in the placebo arm, within 28 days of observation.

How does Molnupiravir work?

Molnupiravir becomes effective by preventing the virus from replicating. For this it alters enzymes that the virus latches onto, effectively tricking the virus before inserting errors into the virus’ genetic code. 

For completing the course, patients will be required to take four pills twice a day for five days, totaling 40 pills over the entire regimen.

As the treatment does not require hospitalization, experts are hail it as a potential gamechanger in the fight against COVID-19. Notably, the treatment has also proved equally effective across Gamma, Delta, and Mu strains of SARS-CoV-2.

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