Over the last year, several drugs have either been developed or tested to treat coronavirus. Now there’s another new antiviral drug that’s showing some promise by demonstrating ability to stop SARS-CoV-2 transmission within 24 hour!

Molnupiravir an antiviral investigational drug administered orally is currently undergoing clinical trials.

Molnupiravir a ribonucleoside analog was first developed as preventative medicine in early 2000s has shown to work against many viruses that employ an RNA-dependent RNA polymerase, which SARS-CoV-2 also has. Molnupiravir doesn’t stop the virus from replicating, though; instead, the drug introduces errors into the virus’s RNA that are then replicated until it’s defunct.

In July 2020, Florida-based Ridgeback Biotherapeutics and US drug maker Merck & Co Inc. announced their partnership to advance development of Molnupiravir in Covid-19.

Merck is considering studying Molnupiravir as a preventive treatment, to be deployed after a person is exposed but before they’ve fallen ill. That would allow the drug to be deployed even more broadly in the fight against Covid. Should Merck succeed in demonstrating that Molnupiravir is effective and free of serious side effects, it could be a boon to the society, for many years to come.
During an animal study on ferrets, they tried to get coronavirus to spread, and it wouldn’t. So, while it’s a treatment designed to prevent hospitalizations and deaths; it also seems to prevent transmission.

With resources big enough for a trial, Merck launched Phase II/III trials with an aim to enroll almost 3,000 patients in the U.S., Colombia, Israel, Russia, and elsewhere. The company is  checking  constantly about the pace of recruitment of the study trial and hopes in sending safety efficacy data  to the FDA to get emergency use authorization or even full authorization in record time.

ADVANTAGES

It has been designed as an oral, unlike other treatments right now that are IVs which indicates it as a potential drug that could come before hospitalization and perhaps even prevent severe symptoms.
The drug can also be used for people who do not want to get a vaccine or don’t have the resources to get shots.
The drug is only used in the short term, twice-daily for five days.
It has shown promise against several RNA viruses, not just SARS-CoV-2, which would mean it could help governments prepare for the next pandemic.

In India, decision to conduct human clinical trials with a new promising antiviral drug, Molnupiravir that is said to block covid transmission will be taken by the strategic group of scientist from Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).

Dr. Shekhar  Mande, Director General Council of Scientific and Industrial Research has suggested that “Like many other anti-flu drugs, Molnupiravir would also undergo clinical trials for testing in humans and they will apply to the drug regulator for approval.”

A previous study from India has also shown that whereas the SARS-CoV-2 virus can become resistant to Remdesivir, an injectable drug which showed promise in treating moderate Covid-19 disease, Molnupiravir may prove more effective in preventing drug resistance and emerge as a latest gamechanger for Covid-19 treatment.

“Even as the world cheers the progress being made on several vaccines to protect against the Covid-19 pandemic, there is great excitement now on Molnupiravir, a new anti-viral drug which according to latest research completely suppresses virus transmission within 24 hours.”

According to Mr. Yusuf Hamied Chairman of Cipla  Limited, Merck has come to India and given all the generics companies an open license to produce this drug. Cipla is planning to do so and get approval in India.

Reference: 

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