New oral drug offers hope for COVID-19 treatment, prevention

An oral drug that can suppress the coronavirus transmission will be available in the market within four to five months in the United States.


The antiviral drug, "Molnupiravir," was jointly developed by two major pharmaceutical companies, namely the Rigibel in Germany and Merck in the United States.

In a WTSP report, Molecular epidemiologist Jill Roberts said the way that the drug works is it messes up viral replication.

It has also shown effectiveness against other viruses such as SARS and MERS.

During the study, the researchers used a ferret model to analyze its effect on preventing the coronavirus to spread.

The team infected ferrets with SARS-CoV-2 and began administering the drug when the animals started to shed virus from the nose.

And while it was supposed to just be a treatment designed to prevent hospitalizations and deaths, the findings showed that the oral drug also reduced the transmission of the virus.

"This is a great tool to have to be able to know for future viruses maybe if we get a mutant that actually circumvents the vaccines, this drug will still work," Roberts told WTSP.

She also pointed out that the oral drug can also be used for people who do not want to get a vaccine or those who do not have the resources to get shots.

The Molnupiravir has successfully completed the first and second phase clinical trials in humans.

It is currently in the Phase III clinical trial.

The oral drug will be available in the market within four to five months if the trials will be successful.