LONDON: The UK on Thursday approved antiviral COVID-19 drug Lagevrio (molnupiravir) after it was found to be safe and effective at reducing the risk of hospitalisation and death in people with mild to moderate COVID-19 following a stringent review.
The drug is developed by Ridgeback Biotherapeutics and Merck Sharp and Dohme (MSD), Lagevrio works by interfering with the virus` replication. This prevents it from multiplying, keeping virus levels low in the body and therefore reducing the severity of the disease.
Taking to Twitter, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson wrote, "Brilliant to hear @MHRAgovuk has approved the world's first antiviral pill for Covid - molnupiravir. Along with the vital protection provided by our vaccines, this treatment can prevent those who are most at risk from becoming seriously ill with Covid."
Based on the clinical trial data, Lagevrio is most effective when taken during the early stages of infection and so the MHRA recommends its use as soon as possible following a positive COVID-19 test and within five days of symptoms onset, the statement added.
Molnupiravir has been authorised 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, diabetes mellitus, or heart disease.
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