New drug molnupiravir raises hope for mild COVID-19 cases

By Naveen Bharat Editorial

BENGALURU: Experimental COVID-19 drug molnupiravir may be promising in treating mild to moderate coronavirus patients, according to an announcement made by the company, Merck and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics, after completing phase 3 trials on October 2.

Going by the data available so far, doctors say that it could be useful in treating Covid patients in the early stages, as the company has recorded a 50% drop in hospitalizations and deaths.

“While we have medicines for moderate to severe patients, we are still struggling for mild patients. This drug could prove to be a game changer. It can be taken orally in the outpatient department,” said Dr Chinnadurai R, principal consultant, critical care department, Aster RV Hospital.

Data were taken from 775 patients and reported that 7.3% of patients receiving the drug were either hospitalized or died by day 29, compared with 14.1% of placebo patients.

“Molnupiravir induces ‘lethal mutation’, thereby reducing viral replication; studies are yet to be reviewed and published. We will have to see clinical benefits on the ground and also await regulatory approval,” Dr. Anoop Amarnath, Head, Scientific Board and Chairman, Geriatric Medicine, Manipal Hospital.

In India, five companies are conducting trials for this drug – Cipla, Dr Reddy’s, Emcure, Sun Pharma and Torrent.

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