With the current situation of things on the global scale, the need for different means of combating the pandemic needs to be figured and one of the most recent is the authorization of a second at-home antiviral pill in order to treat COVID-19.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration made the authorization on Thursday by offering clearance for a drug called Monupiravir days after the agency signed off on Pfizer’s COVID-19 antiviral pill called Paxlovid.
Both of these drugs will potentially reduce the risk of hospitalization and death in people diagnosed with COVID-19 and at risk of having complications from the disease.
Merck makes Molnupiravir and is authorized for people from the age of 18 and above who are at a high risk of getting seriously ill if they ever contract COVID-19.
Unlike its counterpart, Paxlovid, the age clearance is as low as 12 years old and above. The reason for the difference is due to the fact that Molnupiravir could affect bone and cartilage growth, according to the FDA.
Anyone opting for Molnupriavir has to commence the drug within a few days of developing symptoms in order for the drug to be effective.
But this might be difficult in the United States, where testing to confirm someone has COVID-19 is often slow and limited — particularly during surges in case of numbers when treatments are most needed.
During its clinical trial, Molnupiravir appeared to cut the risk of hospitalizations and even death by about half.
A further evaluation found that it was only around 30 percent effective compared to Paxlovid which reduces hospitalization and death for high-risk individuals by a whopping 89% in clinical trials.
Despite the numbers, the US government may still rely on Molnupiravir in the near future especially with the country’s president expected to have some 3 million courses of the drug available by the end of January while 265,000 courses of Paxlovid will be made available.
The federal government started allocating courses of Paxlovid to states after its authorization yesterday.