Emergency approval is asked for a medication against COVID-19
A new drug, called molnupiravir, is an antiviral capable of treating the novel coronavirus and reducing the risk of hospitalization or death in people with mild or moderate COVID-19 by 50%.
Because of this, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA), has been asked to authorize its emergency use, since its benefits were demonstrated in a study that even had to be suspended because of the overwhelming amount of positive results, according to its creators, pharmaceutical companies MSD and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics.
Unlike vaccines, which seek to prevent the illness from becoming serious if it is acquired, this new medication would work as a treatment once infection is already present, and would prevent complications that may lead to hospitalization or risk of death, as explained by the Working Group on HIV Treatments (gTt-VIH) website.
How it works
Molnupiravir inhibits the replication of SARS-CoV-2 (the novel coronavirus responsible for the current pandemic) by interfering in the process through which the virus attacks the cells.
The medication passed the research stages up to being approved for human testing, specifically in 775 adults who had not been vaccinated against COVID-19, who were already infected with the virus and had gone through at least five days with symptoms, but who had not needed to be hospitalized. Another requirement was that these people had a risk factor to suffer from serious COVID-19, such as old age or a specific medical history.
Treatment consists of taking four capsules twice a day for five days. This feature of it being an oral medication differentiates this new drug from others that have been used to control COVID-19, since it makes it easier to administer, unlike others such as monoclonal antibodies which must be administered through an intravenous infusion.
According to partial results from the study, which were communicated through a press release, participants were divided into two groups: one received the molnupiravir treatment and the other, a placebo.
14.1% of the people who received the placebo had to be hospitalized or perished, while this only happened with 7.3% of the people who received molnupiravir, which means that, with the drug, serious consequences were reduced by half.
Additionally, there were no deaths in the group that received the medication, while 8 people perished in the placebo group.
While there are other treatments with higher rates of success, such as monoclonal antibodies, which reach 70%, molnupiravir would be a good treatment option because of its ease of use and lower cost compared to other strategies. The new medication would cost around 700 dollars per treatment scheme, while monoclonal antibodies cost 2 thousand dollars per treatment and other existing antibodies cost up to 3 thousand dollars per treatment.
At AHF Latin America and The Caribbean we offer quality health services for the region. If you live with HIV and have questions regarding COVID-19, write to us via Whatsapp and we will be able to help you.