UK approves first oral drug for Covid-19 treatment

The British Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency has approved the first drug against Covid-19 for oral treatment. The Molnupiravir capsules in the country have been approved for the treatment of risk group patients in the early stages of the disease, British public broadcaster BBC reports.
The medicine has been developed by the US drug companies Merck, Sharp and Dohme (MSD) and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics. According to the manufacturers, the new treatment targets an enzyme that the virus uses to make copies of itself, introducing errors into its genetic code. That is expected to prevent the virus from multiplying, therefore keeping virus levels low in the body and reducing the severity of Covid-19.
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This week, the regulatory body explained that the capsule had been authorised for use in patients, who have mild to moderate Covid-19 and at least one risk factor for developing severe illness such as obesity, old age, diabetes or heart disease.
The UK has ordered 480,000 courses with the first deliveries expected this month. At first, the drug it will be given to both vaccinated and unvaccinated patients through a national study, with extra data on its effectiveness collected before any decision to order more courses, BBC reports.