Britain became the first country in the world to approve COVID-19 antiviral pill that was jointly developed by U.S based Merck and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics.
Britain's Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) recommended the drug, molnupiravir, and stated that it can be used immediately after a positive COVID-19 test and within five days of the onset of symptoms, citing clinical data. Molnupiravir is the first oral antiviral COVID-19 pill to get approved. We all know that Gilead's infused antiviral remdesivir and generic steroid dexamethasone, are generally only given after a patient has been hospitalised.
"We are working at pace across the government and with the NHS to set out plans to deploy molnupiravir to patients through a national study as soon as possible," health secretary Sajid Javid said in a statement.
Merck in a statement said that it was expecting to manufacture 10 million courses of treatment by the end of 2021. Molnupiravir is also being studied in a late-stage trial for preventing infection.
Pfizer and Roche are also in the race to develop easy-to-administer antiviral pills for the dangerous COVID-19. Pfizer last month started a large study of its oral antiviral drug for those who are affected with COVID-19.