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Ukraine to purchase Molnupiravir pills to treat Covid-19

by Victoria Petryk December 19, 2021 1:11 PM 1 min read
Ukraine to buy 300,000 courses of Molnupiravir, an antiviral Covid-19 treatment pill by pharmaceutical company Merck. (Merck & Co)
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The Health Ministry has signed an agreement to purchase Molnupiravir for the treatment of Covid-19, Deputy Health Minister Oleksandr Komarida announced on Dec. 17. Ukraine will purchase 300,000 courses of experimental antiviral pills.

“Molnupiravir is a medication that blocks an enzyme needed by the virus to reproduce the genetic code. This should prevent the virus from multiplying and reduce the risk of severe disease,” said Komarida. "The drug is a pill, so it has no special storage requirements and is convenient to take.”

Molnupiravir was developed by the science and technology company Merck & Co. in collaboration with Ridgeback Biotherapeutics.

According to the company's latest news release, early treatment with Molnupiravir significantly reduced the risk of hospitalization or death in at-risk, unvaccinated adults with Covid-19. More recent preclinical evidence indicates that Molnupiravir has antiviral activity against Omicron, a new fast-spreading Covid-19 strain that has just been detected in Ukraine.

On Dec. 16, Ukraine signed a contract to buy 300,000 courses of another experimental antiviral Covid-19 treatment pill, Paxlovid, developed by Pfizer. It reduces the level of hospitalization or death for adults at risk suffering from Covid-19 by 89% and is effective against the Omicron strain.

On Nov. 19, European Medicines Agency (EMA) issued advice on the use of Molnupiravir for the treatment of Covid-19 in those who have at least one risk factor for developing severe illness. EMA suggests Molnupiravir pills be taken as soon as Covid-19 is detected and within five days of the start of symptoms, twice a day.

The UK was the first to authorize Molnupiravir Covid-19 pills, Reuters reported.

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