Blog 26 November, 2021 Back
New medication approved for treatment of COVID-19
Molnupiravir, sold under the brand name Lagevrio, is an antiviral medication that inhibits the replication of certain RNA viruses.
Use of this treatment aims to lessen the burden placed on hospitals through decreasing the number of hospitalised COVID-19 patients while reducing the risk of patients developing more severe symptoms of the virus.
The medicine can be used to treat adults with COVID-19 who do not require supplemental oxygen and who are at increased risk of developing severe COVID-19. Lagevrio should be administered as soon as possible after diagnosis of COVID-19 and within 5 days of the start of symptoms. The medicine, which is available as capsules, should be taken twice a day for 5 days.
Molnupiravir has been authorised by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) for use in people who have mild to moderate COVID-19 and at least one risk factor for developing severe illness. Such risk factors include obesity, older age (>60 years), diabetes mellitus, or heart disease.
The European Medicines Agency (EMA) has begun evaluating an application for the marketing authorisation of molnupiravir, marketed as Lagevrio, an oral antiviral medicine for the treatment of COVID-19 in adults. The EMA will assess the safety and efficacy of Lagevrio under a reduced timeline and could issue an opinion on the treatment within weeks if the data on the benefits of Lagevrio are shown to sufficiently outweigh the risks.
Lagevrio is not intended to be used as a substitute for vaccination against COVID-19.
UK Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid said:
“It is a historic day for our country, as the UK is now the first country in the world to approve an antiviral that can be taken at home for COVID-19. This will be a gamechanger for the most vulnerable and the immunosuppressed, who will soon be able to receive the ground-breaking treatment.
“The UK is leading the way to research, develop and roll out the most exciting, cutting-edge treatments, and my thanks goes to the expert teams at the MHRA and MSD for this triumph, as well as the Antivirals Taskforce who have procured the treatment.
“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”