Be careful in using COVID-19 drug molnupiravir, infectious disease expert warns
MANILA, Philippines — An infectious disease expert and member of the Department of Health’s Technical Advisory Group urged the public on Tuesday to be careful in using the new experimental antiviral drug molnupiravir, noting that it is currently only for high risk populations with mild to moderate COVID-19 infection.
Molnupiravir is an investigational oral drug produced by Merck & Co., and Ridgeback which promised to reduce the risk of hospitalization or death by approximately 50 percent for patients with mild to moderate COVID-19 symptoms.
Please be careful with molnupiravir. Long-term use has mutagenic potential. It is currently only for high risk…FEATURED STORIES
“Please be careful with molnupiravir. Long-term use has mutagenic potential. It is currently only for high risk populations with CONFIRMED mild/moderate COVID infection under compassionate use and only for 5 days,” Dr. Edsel Salvaña said in a Facebook post.
“Beyond that narrow application, the risk-benefit ratio of this drug remains UNCERTAIN and can be potentially harmful. If you have severe COVID, it doesn’t really work and other meds need to be used. NEVER take any meds without proper medical consultation,” he added.
At present, molnupiravir, the first oral drug clinically proven to reduce the risk of hospitalization and death from COVID-19 by approximately 50 percent, can only be available through compassionate special permits issued by the Food and Drug Administration.
The first batch of the drug, under the brand name MOLNARZ®, arrived in the country last week through a local pharmaceutical firm.
The drug is also now available to patients who are prescribed to take it through the Bayanihan E-Konsulta Program of the Office of the Vice President.
Aside from Merck, Pfizer also developed it’s own antiviral COVID pill called Paxlovid, which acts by reducing the virus’s ability to replicate, slowing down the disease. The two drug manufacturers have stopped their clinical trials earlier than scheduled as the results were so strong.
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