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UK Becomes The First Country In The World To Approve Merck's Antiviral Pill For Covid-19

Credit: The Star

On 4 November, UK approved Merck's antiviral pill to treat patients who are suffering mild to moderate Covid-19. “Today is a historic day for our country, as the UK is now the first country in the world to approve an antiviral that can be taken at home for Covid-19,” said health minister Sajid Javid.

The antiviral, called molnupiravir, decreases the ability of a virus to duplicate, which will then slow down the disease. According to the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), its trials had concluded it was "safe and effective at reducing the risk of hospitalisation and death in people with mild to moderate Covid-19 who are at increased risk of developing severe disease".

The clinical trial data shows that the drug is most effective when it is taken during the early stages of infection. The MHRA also recommends that it should be taken within 5 days of the onset of symptoms. The antiviral pills have been authorised to be used by people who have at least one risk factor for developing severe illness, like obesity, old age, diabetes, and heart disease.

According to Malay Mail, Merck also signed agreements with other governments, including the US, which plans to purchase 1.7 million doses if molnupiravir is approved by regulators.


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