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Sri Lanka approves use of molnupiravir COVID antiviral pill

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Sri Lanka Covid-19 Technical Committee has granted approval for the use of oral antiviral pill ‘Molnupiravir’ in Sri Lanka.

Merck’s molnupiravir is the first oral antiviral medication to be approved for the treatment of Covid-19.

State Minister Prof. Channa Jayasumana said that in response to his letter seeking the panel’s opinion on the usage of molnupiravir for Covid-19 management in Sri Lanka, the Director General of Health Services today informed him that approval has been granted for its use in the country.

He said that steps would be taken to register the drug in Sri Lanka and provide it to patients in the country in due time.

Earlier this month, the UK medicines regulator had also approved molnupiravir, the COVID antiviral developed by Merck and Ridgeback Therapeutics.

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

Developed by Ridgeback Biotherapeutics and Merck Sharp & Dohme (MSD), antiviral Lagevrio (molnupiravir) works by interfering with the virus’ replication.

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 authorised 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.

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