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WHO Recommends Merck’s Antiviral Pill for High Risk COVID Patients

Merck's COVID pill, Molnupiravir, is only recommended for those over 18, who have mild to moderate illness.

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An expert panel of the WHO, on Wednesday, 2 February, recommended the use of Merck Inc's COVID-19 pill, Molnupiravir.

The antiviral pill continues to recommended only for patients who have mild to moderate illness but are at a high risk of developing severe disease.

The subgroup of people it is recommended for includes unvaccinated people, immunocompromised COVID patients, and the elderly.

Molnupiravir was previously recommended by the US FDA, and was approved for use in India by the DSCO in December 2021.

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What to Know About Molnupiravir

Molnupiravir is an experimental oral antiviral treatment which works by introducing errors into the genetic code of the COVID virus, preventing it from mutating, and thus, keeping the illness from escalating.

Is it not a prophylactic, and there is no evidence to suggest that it prevents COVID infections.

According to the company, Molnupiravir, is to be used in COVID patients who have,

  • Mild to moderate illness

  • At least one comorbidity

  • Not been hospitalised

  • Are over the age of 18

The pill is also meant to be taken 5 days after the onset of symptoms.

It is not recommended for pregnant women, children below the age of 18 as clinical trials have shown the risk of damage in these groups.

Speaking to FIT for a previous article, Dr SP Kalantri Director professor of Medicine at MGIMS and Medical Superintendent of Kasturba Hospital, pointed out that the pill may provide very little actual benefit, while the risks associated with it were too high.

"We had had many drugs in the past that seem promising at first, but when they were followed for five to seven years, they show their true colours."
Dr SP Kalantri, Medical Superintendent of Kasturba Hospital, Mumbai

After its approval, Dr NK Arora, Chairman of COVID-19 Working Group of NTAGI also said that the use of Molnupiravir in India should be restricted to the elderly, and particularly avoided in people of the reproductive age.

In India, 13 companies have been given the go ahead to manufacture and market Molnupiravir 200gm pills.

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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Topics:  coronavirus   COVID-19   Merck 

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