Presenting Molnupiravir: A New, Safe and Effective Oral Antiviral Treatment For Covid-19 (Medicine)

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS‑CoV‑2) is the virus that causes COVID-19, the respiratory illness responsible for the COVID-19 pandemic. More than 166,000,000 confirmed infections and 3,400,000 deaths worldwide as of 23 May 2021. Currently there are no therapies which can completely eliminate this infectious virus and prevent transmission. So there is an urgent need for oral antiviral therapies that can, not only easily distributes on a scale that meets global demand but also reduce transmission and infection.

Molnupiravir is an experimental antiviral drug which is orally active and was developed for the treatment of influenza. Results of first-in-human Phase 1 trail in healthy volunteers showed that the molnupiravir is safe and well tolerated. Now, Dr. William Fischer and colleagues reported the results of a Phase 2 randomized, clinical trail evaluating the safety, tolerability and antiviral efficacy of molnupiravir in treatment of covid 19.

In this randomized clinical trail, 202 eligible participants who have SARS-CoV-2 infection and symptom onset, have given 1:1 to 200 mg molnupiravir or placebo, or 3:1 to molnupiravir (400 or 800 mg) or placebo, twice daily for 5 days.

Table 1. Summary of Adverse Events © Dr. William Fischer et al.

They found that, in just 4 days after treatment initiation, there was no infectious virus isolated from any participants who received 400 or 800 mg molnupiravir. Participants treated with 800 mg molnupiravir compared to placebo showed significant decrease in infectious virus isolation. They also showed that time to viral RNA clearance was also decreased. Moreover, there are very less number of grade 3+ adverse events. (You can check it out in Table 1 given above.)

“This trail provides strong biological evidence that supports development of molnupiravir as an oral agent to reduce infectious viral replication and interrupt progression of COVID-19 in early stages of disease.”

Another important fact is that, molnupiravir can be produced at large scale and it does not require cold transportation or infection control infrastructure for administration.

“The results of this trail demonstrate safety, tolerability and antiviral efficacy of molnupiravir to reduce replication if SARS-CoV-2 and accelerate clearance of infectious virus and support ongoing trails if molnupiravir to prevent progression of COVID-19 and eliminate onward transmission of SARS-CoV-2”

— concluded authors of the study

Reference: William A Fischer II, Joseph J Eron Jr., Wayne Holman, Myron S Cohen, Lei Fang, Laura J Szewczyk, Timothy P Sheahan, Ralph S Baric, Katie R Mollan, Cameron R Wolfe, Elizabeth R Duke, Masoud M Azizad, Katyna BorrotoiEsoda, David A Wohl, Amy James Loftis, Paul Alabanza, Felicia Lipansky, Wendy P Painter, “Molnupiravir, an Oral Antiviral Treatment for COVID-19”, medRxiv 2021.06.17.21258639; doi: https://doi.org/10.1101/2021.06.17.21258639


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