▲ Merck (MSD)’s oral COVID-19 treatment ‘molnupiravir’
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved Molnupiravir, a pill developed by Merck & Company (MSD), as a treatment for COVID-19 following Pfizer’s ‘Pax Lovid’.
However, as Pfizer’s treatment showed relatively good efficacy and few side effects, it is predicted that ‘molnupiravir’ will be of limited use.
Molnupiravir lowers hospitalization and mortality in high-risk patients by about 30%, significantly lower than Pfizer’s Paxrovid.
Accordingly, the FDA has approved the use of molnupiravir for patients with mild COVID-19 who are likely to be hospitalized, including the elderly and high-risk groups such as those with obesity and heart disease, when no other treatment alternative is available or is medically appropriate.
Its use is contraindicated in patients under the age of 18 because it may affect growth.
Molnupiravir will also be sold with warnings about serious safety concerns, including ‘birth defects’.
The FDA has restricted women of childbearing potential to use contraception while taking the drug and for several days thereafter, and men to use it for three months after the last dose.
The U.S. government has previously signed a contract to purchase five million doses of molnupiravir at a price of $700 per treatment dose.
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