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Covid 19

WHO Updates its COVID-19 Treatment Guidelines to Include Oral Antiviral Molnupiravir

  • March 7, 2022
  • 2 mins read

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has included oral antiviral agent Molnupiravir in its COVID-19 Treatment guidelines, with a conditional recommendation for this new antiviral medication.

Molnupiravir is the first oral antiviral medication to be included in the treatment guidelines for COVID-19. As this is a newly proposed medication, there is little safety data. The specialized agency of the United Nations (WHO) responsible for international public health recommends active observation for medication safety, along with other tactics in order to mitigate potential harms.

By virtue of these concerns and datum gaps, this newly proposed medicine should be provided only to patients with non-severe COVID-19 and with the increased risk of hospitalization. These are typically individuals who have not received a vaccine against COVID-19, older individuals, individuals with immunodeficiencies and individuals living with chronic diseases.

Use of Molnupiravir in Children, and pregnant/breastfeeding women is not recommended and needs to be avoided. Individuals who take this oral antiviral medication should have a contraceptive intent, and health systems should ensure access to pregnancy testing and contraceptives at the point of care.

Under the supervision of a health specialist, Molnupiravir, an antiviral oral medicine, is given as 4-tablets (total 800 mg) twice a day for 5-days; within 5-days of signs/symptom onset. Molnupiravir is recommended to be used as early as possible after infection, it can help prevent hospitalization.

This recommendation depends on new data from the 6 randomized controlled trials involving a total of 4796 patients, making the largest dataset on this medication so far.

Along with the Molnupiravir recommendation, this 9’th update of WHO’s living guideline on treatment includes an update on a monoclonal antibody cocktail named casirivimab-imdevimab. On behalf of evidence that this combination of medicines is ineffective against the Omicron variant of concern, the agency now recommends that it is only considered when the infection is caused by another variant.

This oral antiviral medication is not widely available but certain measures have been imposed towards increasing it’s access, including the signing of a voluntary licensing agreement.

The agency has also invited manufacturers to submit their products for prequalification, with a number of manufacturers of Molnupiravir: an oral antiviral medicine going through assessment now.

The World Health Organisation analyzes the Quality, Safety and Efficacy of medicinal products for the United Nations and other broad suppliers to low- and middle-income territories.

More the agency quality-assured manufacturers mean that territories have a better choice of products and more competitive prices.

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