BENJAMIN BARRETT WRITES – Although vaccine manufacture and distribution continue rolling out globally, it is important, still, to research treatment options for people who already have COVID-19. One option that has come to light recently is Molnupiravir.
Molnupiravir is a drug created by the pharmaceutical company Merck. Essentially, Molnupiravir is an antiviral drug, similar to Remdesivir but supposedly it works even better. According to this Nature article, the Molnupiravir pill could cut COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths in half.
How does Molnupiravir work? Unlike the vaccines, which help prevent the spread of the virus, Molnupiravir is used to treat those diagnosed with COVID-19, so that they can start a five-day course of the drug. Essentially, the drug stops the body’s replication of COVID-19, making it easier to fight off the virus.
Although Molnupiravir has never been peer reviewed, its preliminary results are very promising. Merck expects it to be approved by the FDA for emergency use as early as December 2021. In fact, the results are so promising that Bill Gates has pledged $120 million to help distribute the pills to poorer countries.
According to a CNN article, as of right now there are already eight countries in the Asia-Pacific area interested in obtaining the drug once it is approved. Some have already signed deals and others are in talks to sign deals with Merck. Some of these countries include New Zealand, Australia, and South Korea.
If Molnupiravir gets FDA approval, it is important that all countries around the world are able to get access to it. Throughout the pandemic so far, third world countries have had a very hard time accessing test kits, vaccines and more. It is important that richer countries such as the United States, and many European countries, don’t hog the full supply.
In the meantime, we have to hope that the drug gets FDA approval and that it is truly as strong and effective as Merck claims it to be.