WHO: Elderly, unvaxxed with mild symptoms can take COVID pill
PARIS — The World Health Organization (WHO) has recommended an anti-COVID pill be taken by sufferers who have mild symptoms but are at high risk of hospitalization, such as older people or the unvaccinated.
The pill, called molnupiravir and developed by US pharmaceutical Merck, is taken as soon as possible after COVID-19 symptoms develop and then for the following five days.
A WHO group of experts said in the British Medical Journal that people with weak immune systems or chronic disease were also recommended to take the pill if they had nonsevere COVID.
However “young and healthy patients, including children, and pregnant and breastfeeding women should not be given the drug due to potential harms,” they said.
The UN agency’s new recommendation was based on the results of six randomized controlled trials involving 4,796 patients, the “largest data set on this drug so far.” The trials suggested that molnupiravir reduced the risk of going to the hospital, with 43 fewer admissions per 1,000 high-risk patients, as well as speeding up the pace at which symptoms cleared up by an average of 3.4 days.
While vaccines remain the foremost tools in the fight against the pandemic, experts have welcomed the addition of the new oral treatments, which inhibit the virus’ ability to replicate and should withstand variants.
The only other main anti-COVID pill available is Pfizer’s Paxlovid.
Molnupiravir was made available in the Philippines as an investigational drug for the treatment of COVID-19 through a compassionate special permit given by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
As of February, the FDA has granted emergency use authorization to six brands of the anti-COVID drug: Molnarz (manufactured by Faberco), Molnaflu (Medethix), Auxilto (German Quality Pharma), Molxvir (Sun Pharma), Molnatris (Mykan), and Molnupiravir Generic (Lloyd Laboratories/Dr. Zen’s Research). —reports from AFP and Tina G. Santos
The Inquirer Foundation supports our healthcare frontliners and is still accepting cash donations to be deposited at Banco de Oro (BDO) current account #007960018860 or donate through PayMaya using this link.