The UK has conditionally approved the world’s first oral antiviral treatment for COVID-19 developed by US pharmaceutical company Merck & Company, Reuters and Associated Press reported.
The British Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency said on the same day that it recommends taking MSD’s oral COVID-19 treatment ‘molnupiravir’ for patients 18 years of age or older who test positive for COVID-19 and have symptoms within 5 days of onset.
To take molnupiravir, you must also have mild or moderate symptoms and have at least one risk factor, such as obesity or heart disease.
Molnupiravir has been approved for use, but it is not known when it will be available in the medical field.
MSD plans to produce 10 million doses of molnupiravir within this year, but governments around the world are said to have already pre-purchased most of this production.
Reuters reported that the UK’s measures are expected to have a positive impact on the US Food and Drug Administration’s review of the emergency use of molnupiravir.
The FDA is scheduled to hold an external advisory panel meeting on the 30th to discuss and vote on whether to approve molnupiravir for emergency use, so approval in the United States is likely to be possible only after the end of this month.
Earlier last month, MSD announced that molnupiravir had the effect of reducing hospitalization and mortality by half as a result of a phase 3 clinical trial on 775 confirmed COVID-19 patients.
It also said that it expects to produce 10 million doses of molnupiravir by the end of this year and to at least double the production next year.