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FAQ | India Approves Merck’s COVID-19 Pill: Here's What to Know

Here's what you need to know about Merck's antiviral COVID-19 Pill, Molnupiravir.

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FAQ | India Approves Merck’s COVID-19 Pill: Here's What to Know
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On 28 December, Union Health Minsiter, Dr Mansukh Mandaviya, took to Twitter to announce that US based pharmaceutical company, Merck Inc's COVID-19 pill has been approved for use in India.

According to Dr Mandaviya, the antiviral COVID-19 treatment, Molnupiravir, was granted emergency use approval by the entral Drugs Standard Control Organisation, along with two other COVID-19 vaccines, Covovax and Corbevax.

Just last week, the Pill was approved by the US Food and Drugs Administration (US FDA). Prior to that, in November, Molnupiravir received clearance in the UK.

clinical studies of the experimental COVID-19 pill have shown promising results. But how much do we know about the treatment? what is it's dosage going to be like?

FIT answers your FAQs.

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How does Molnupiravir work?

Molnupiravir is an experimental antiviral treatment which works by introducing errors into the genetic code of the virus, preventing it from mutating. This intern keeps the illness from escalating.

How effective is it?

In October, Merck Inc. along with its partner Ridgeback Biotherapeutics, put out a statement saying the phase 3 Clinical trial of Molnupiravir successfully reduces the chance of hospitalisation and death by nearly half.

Revised data released in November, however, showed that the treatment cut the risk of hospitalisation and death by 30 percent.

Can Molnupiravir help prevent COVID-19?

No. Molnupiravir is not a preventive treatment.

It is meant to be taken by those with mild-moderate COVID and are at risk of developing serious illness.

Does this mean I don't need to get vaccinated?

Absolutely not. Merck's Molnupiravir, or any other experimental COVID treatment is not a substitute for vaccines.

In India, it has been approved for restricted use under emergency situations in patients who have mild to moderate illness and Oxygen saturation of less than 93 percent, who are at risk of severe illness and even death.

I am COVID-19 Positive. When should I be taking the pill?

It is recommended that you start taking the pill within 5 days of symptom onset.

What is it's dosage? How often can I take the pill?

According to a statement issued by the MoHFW, Molnupiravir shall be administered as four 200 milligram capsules taken orally twice a day, every 12 hours.

The pill shouldn't be taken for more than 5 days consecutively.

Is it safe for pregnant women to take?

According to the US FDA, pregnant women are discourage from taking the Molnupiravir pill as some animal studies suggest it may damage the foetus.

Is it safe for children to take?

No, the pill has not been authorised in India, or anywhere else for kids below the age of 18.

According to the US FDA, this is because it may affect the development of bone and cartilage in growing kids.

Who is manufacturing it in India?

According to the MoHFW's statement, 13 companies in India have been given approval to manufacture and market Molnupiravir 200gm pills.

The statement lists these companies as being,

1. M/s Dr.Reddy’s, Hyderabad.

2. M/s Natco, Hyderabad.

3. M/s MSN, Hyderabad.

4. M/s Hetero, Hyderabad.

5. M/s Optimus, Hyderabad.

6. M/s Aurobindo, Hyderabad.

7. M/s Mylan, Hyderabad.

8. M/s Strides, Bengaluru.

9. M/s Emcure, Pune.

10. M/s Cipla, Mumbai.

11. M/sSun Pharma, Mumbai.

12. M/s Torrent, Ahmedabad.

13. M/s BDR, Ahmedabad.

(Subscribe to FIT on Telegram)

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