President directs to import Molnupiravir antiviral COVID drug through SPC

Molnupiravir pill

The molnupiravir pill – (Photo credit: BBC / Merck)

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa instructed State Minister Prof. Channa Jayasumana to take steps to import Molnupiravir tablet (antiviral medication for COVID-19) through the State Pharmaceutical Corporation (SPC).

Rolling out Molnupiravir antiviral pill to treat symptomatic coronavirus cases in Sri Lanka was discussed at the meeting of the Special Committee on COVID-19 Control held yesterday (26).

Molnupiravir, which works by interfering with the virus’ replication, is developed by the U.S. drug companies Merck, Sharp and Dohme (MSD) and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics.

It is the first-ever antiviral medication for COVID-19 that can be taken as a pill rather than injected or given intravenously.

Last week, Sri Lanka’s COVID-19 Technical Committee granted approval for the use of the oral antiviral pill ‘Molnupiravir’ in Sri Lanka.

Earlier this month, the UK medicines regulator had also green-lighted Molnupiravir.

Among adults with mild to moderate COVID who were at risk of developing serious disease, it is said to cut the chances of being hospitalized or dying in half.

This prevents it from multiplying, keeping virus levels low in the body and therefore reducing the severity of the disease.

Based on the clinical trial data, Lagevrio is most effective when taken during the early stages of infection and therefore it has been recommended for use as soon as possible following a positive COVID-19 test and within five days of symptoms onset.

UK’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) had authorized Molnupiravir for use in people who have mild to moderate COVID-19 and at least one risk factor for developing severe illness. Such risk factors include obesity, older age (>60 years), diabetes mellitus, or heart disease.