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Britain becomes first country to approve Merck's oral COVID-19 treatment pill

The pill works by interfering with the virus’ replication and prevents it from multiplying, keeping virus levels low in the body and therefore reducing the severity of the disease.

Britain becomes first country to approve Merck's oral COVID-19 treatment pill-dnm
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London, First Published Nov 4, 2021, 5:50 PM IST
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Britain’s medicines regulator on Thursday granted approval to the potentially game-changing Covid-19 antiviral oral pill jointly developed by Merck and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics in the fight against Covid-19 pandemic. England became the first country in the world saying that it had approved the world’s first antiviral oral pill, known as molnupiravir, having found it to be “safe and effective at reducing the risk of hospitalisation and death in people with mild to moderate Covid-19 who are at increased risk of developing severe disease.”

The pill works by interfering with the virus’ replication and prevents it from multiplying, keeping virus levels low in the body and therefore reducing the severity of the disease. The UK’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency also said it can also be administered outside of a hospital.

“We will continue to move with both rigor and urgency to bring molnupiravir to patients around the world as quickly as possible,” Merck President Robert M Davis said in a statement.

Also read: China: Beijing fortified as COVID-19 outbreaks continue to swell

The company has applied to the US Food and Drug Administration for emergency use authorization, while the European Medicines Agency has launched a rolling review of the drug. Merck said it was also working to submit applications to other regulatory agencies.

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) recommended that the drug, molnupiravir, be used as soon as possible following a positive Covid-19 test and within five days of the onset of symptoms. The government and the NHS will confirm how this Covid-19 treatment will be deployed to patients in due course, Reuters reported.

Separately, Merck said it was expecting to produce 10 million courses of the treatment by the end of this year, with at least 20 million courses set to be manufactured in 2022, the report added.

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