The UK top health official Sajid Javid has confirmed that the country becomes the first where Merck’s COVID-19 antiviral pill was approved. It was not immediately clear how quickly the pill Molnupiravir would be available, AP has learned.
Britain’s health ministry has granted a conditional authorization to Merck’s antiviral pill, which showed successfully treat COVID-19 that can be taken at home by people with mild to moderate COVID-19.
The pill was licensed for adults 18+ who have tested positive for coronavirus and have at least one risk factor for developing severe disease. The molnupiravir should be taken twice a day for five days. Thus, the innovative pill reduces symptoms and speeds recovery could prove groundbreaking.
For the patients and medical personnel, the pill eases caseloads on hospitals and helping to curb outbreaks in third countries with ruined health systems.
But the most important is the antiviral pill would bolster the two-pronged approach to the pandemic: treatment, by way of medication, and prevention, mainly through immunizations.
FDA to convene a panel of experts to scrutinize Merck pill’s safety
While the UK has approved the anti-COVID pill, the US Food and Drug Administration has planned to scrutinize the pill’s safety and effectiveness in late November.
Initial supplies will be limited. Merck has said it can produce 10 million treatment courses through the end of the year, but much of that supply has already been purchased by governments worldwide.
In October, UK officials announced they secured 480,000 courses of molnupiravir and expected thousands of vulnerable Britons to have access to the treatment this winter via a national study.
“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 UK health secretary Sajid Javid.