An antiviral drug available in Australia can eliminate ‘actively infectious’ Covid-19 from the body after as little as two days of treatment and may be effective against all variants.
All participants taking 800mg a day of Molnupiravir capsules (sold under the brand name Lagevrio) in a European research trial showed no sign of the virus on day three of ‘starting’ treatment.
Prior to treatment the patients had all tested positive in PCR tests.
So far it is available for limited use in Australia.
New infections have continued to climb since mid-February and new daily cases averaged over 56,000 across Australia in the last week of March.
‘Results demonstrated that on day three of treatment, infectious SARS-CoV-2 was detected in zero of 92 of participants with infectious virus at baseline who received molnupiravir, compared with 21.8 per cent of participants who received placebo,’ the European Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases reported on April 1.
The study was conducted by scientists employed by the drug’s manufacturer, Merck & Co, including Dr Julie Strizki.
The company announced in January that Molnupiravir was effective against Omicron BA.2 in lab trials, not long after there was concern unrelated antiviral drugs were not effective against the now-dominant strain.
Merck said Molnupiravir showed ‘broad activity’ against coronaviruses, including SARS-CoV-2 and its variants of concern.
The drug’s effectiveness is noted as being reliant on the patient taking it within five days of symptoms showing.
According to Australia’s Therapeutic Good Administration (TGA), Molnupiravir is marketed under the product name Lagevrio, in 200mg capsules, by Merck Sharp & Dohme (Australia).
Side effects are considered ‘minor and temporary’ but can include ‘diarrhoea, nausea, and dizziness’.
It was approved on January 20 and added to Australia’s Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) on March 1 – but only for people aged over 65, or over 50 for Aboriginal or Torres Strait islander people.
This is an excerpt from Daily Mail.
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