UK first approves COVID-19 antiviral home pill

The UK has become the first country to approve antiviral COVID-19 treatment that can be taken as a tablet at home.

MHRA, the UK’s national medicine regulator, Presentation On November 4, the antiviral drug Lagevrio (molnupiravir) was approved for the treatment of mild to moderate COVID-19 with other risk factors such as obesity, diabetes and over 60 years of age.

“The UK is the first country in the world to approve an antiviral drug that can be taken home for COVID-19, so it is historic for us today,” said UK Health Minister Sajid Javid in a statement. It’s a nice day. “

“We plan to deploy molnupiravir to patients as soon as possible through a national survey, in line with the government as a whole and the NHS.

“This antiviral agent will be an excellent addition to our arsenal for COVID-19.”

Ridgeback Biotherapeutics and Merck Sharp & Dohme (MSD) drugs work by blocking the replication of the virus.

It prevents the growth of the virus, keeps it low in the body, and reduces the severity of the disease.

MHRA said the drug should be taken as soon as possible within the first 5 days after a positive COVID-19 test.

The UK Department of Health said in a statement: “Molnupiravir is approved for use in people with mild to moderate COVID-19 and at least one risk factor for developing severe illness. Such risk factors include obesity, old age (> 60 years old), diabetes, heart disease, etc. “

The government announced last month that it had secured 480,000 courses of Molnupiravir as a result of a survey. Release According to the manufacturer, patients with mild to moderate illness who have at least one risk factor for the disease have a 50% reduction in hospitalization and mortality rates.

The study was an interim clinical trial that had not yet been peer-reviewed in 775 patients who were recently infected with the virus.

According to the MSD press statement, 7.3% of patients who received the drug were hospitalized, compared to 14.1% who received the placebo.

There were no deaths among those who received the drug in the study. Eight of those who received placebo died.

The chairman of the UK Human Medical Commission said it reviewed the data and approved MHRA’s regulatory approvals.

MSD has already been created agreement Awaiting EUA or FDA approval, it will provide 1.7 million courses to the US Government at a cost of approximately $ 1.2 billion.

Each course of medicine costs about $ 700 (£ 513).

Other countries, including Singapore, South Korea and Australia, have similar purchase agreements.

MSD said it plans to use a step-by-step pricing approach based on national income.

Rival pharmaceutical company Pfizer has begun testing two different antiviral tablets. Swiss company Roche is also working on antivirals.

PA contributed to this report

Simon Veazey

Simon Veazey

Freelance reporter


Simon Veazey is a UK-based journalist who has been reporting on the Epoch Times since 2006 on a variety of beats, from detailed coverage of British and European politics to web-based writing of the latest news.