Australia will have access to an additional Covid-19 treatment following the Morrison Government’s deal to purchase 300,000 courses of the promising oral Covid treatment, Molnupiravir.
Molnupiravir is an oral antiviral that is being developed for the first-line treatment of Covid-19 in adult patients with mild-to-moderate symptoms.
According to the Federal Government, treatment with the oral antiviral has been shown to stop people with Covid developing serious symptoms, keeping them out of hospital and preventing serious illness and death.
Whilst Molnupiravir is in late-stage clinical trials, the agreement between Merck Sharp & Dohme is for supply to Australia, should it be approved by the Therapeutic Good Administration (TGA), during early 2022.
Must have access to promising treatments
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the Government was ensuring Australians had access not only to Covid-19 vaccines, but also promising treatments.
“Vaccines and new treatments like this will boost our National Plan to safely reopen Australia and keep Australia safely open,” the Prime Minister said.
“Throughout this pandemic we’ve been closely watching developments for Covid vaccines and treatments, and Molnupiravir will be ready to go in Australia, should it be approved by the TGA.
“While our vaccination rate continues to climb, we’ve been investing in and closely monitoring research into treatments, and we are securing supply of promising treatments.
“If the medical experts at the TGA approve this treatment for use, it will join other Covid-19 treatments such as Sotrovimab and Remdesivir, which are already available to Australian doctors to help treat those with Covid-19.”
Capsule is ideal for use in the rural areas
Molnupiravir is a capsule that is taken twice a day for five days by adult patients with mild-to-moderate symptoms and does not need to be refrigerated, allowing it to be used in the community or as a targeted intervention at high-risk locations and in rural areas.
The makers of Molnupiravir, MSD and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics, have recently announced that Molnupiravir reduced the risk of hospitalisation or death from Covid by 50 percent at a planned interim analysis of the Phase Three trial.
Minister for Health and Aged Care, Greg Hunt, noted that these positive results added to the ongoing analysis the TGA has been undertaking into Molnupiravir.
“All Covid-19 treatment assessment processes are being treated with the greatest priority as part of the Government’s response to the pandemic,” Hunt said.