The Food and Drug Administration authorized a second at-home antiviral pill to deal with COVID-19 on Thursday. The clearance for the drug, known as molnupiravir, got here a day after the company signed off on Pfizer’s COVID-19 antiviral, known as Paxlovid. Both medicine scale back the chance of hospitalization and loss of life in individuals identified with COVID-19 and vulnerable to having a extreme case of the illness.
Molnupiravir, made by pharmaceutical firm Merck, is allowed for individuals 18 years of age and older who’re at a excessive danger of getting critically in poor health in the event that they contract the coronavirus. It’s the next age cutoff than Paxlovid, which is cleared for individuals 12 and up, as a result of molnupiravir would possibly have an effect on bone and cartilage development, the FDA stated in an announcement.
Like Paxlovid, sufferers have to begin taking Merck’s drug inside a couple of days of growing signs to ensure that it to be the best. That may be troublesome within the United States, the place testing to substantiate somebody has COVID-19 is commonly gradual and restricted — notably throughout surges in case numbers when therapies are most wanted.
Molnupiravir initially appeared to chop the chance of hospitalization and loss of life by about half in a medical trial. Additional analysis, although, discovered that it was solely round 30 p.c efficient. That’s far much less efficient than Paxlovid, which decreased hospitalizations and deaths for high-risk teams by 89 p.c in a medical trial.
Despite its decrease efficacy, the US could also be reliant on molnupiravir within the close to future — the Biden administration expects to have 3 million programs of the Merck drug out there by the tip of January however solely 265,000 programs of Paxlovid. The federal authorities began allocating programs of Paxlovid to states after its authorization yesterday.