An anti-Covid 19 pill, soon in pharmacies?


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The government has announced a pre-order for 50,000 doses of Molnupiravir, an antiviral that is believed to be effective in some cases. If the health authorities agree, it could be distributed in pharmacies.

Soon a drug against Covid-19 available in pharmacies? This is Olivier Véran’s hope. The Minister of Health has announced a pre-order for Molnupiravir. The capsule is manufactured by pharmaceutical companies Merck and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics. “50,000 doses of this drug will be delivered to France from the last days of November or the first days of December, that is to say as soon as the treatments leave the production lines“, announced Olivier Véran in the Senate on October 26, as reported by Les Echos.

At first glance, this antiviral is quite promising. In phase 3 clinical trials, there were 50% fewer deaths and hospitalizations after administration of treatment to at-risk, unvaccinated and infected individuals. “But we must be careful, this study was carried out with approximately 400 patients treated, it was stopped halfway because the results were satisfactory. It’s a bit like judging the trifecta halfway because your horse is in front“, nuance Mathieu Molimard, professor of pharmacology at CHU Pellegrin, in Bordeaux, to France Info. According to the professional, the treatment is taken five days at a rate of two daily doses.

Molnupiravir, soon available in pharmacies?

Before authorizing the distribution of Molnupiravir, the State is awaiting the green light from the National Medicines Safety Agency (ANSM) and the High Authority for Health. According to Les Echos, “the government hopes that the French health authorities will validate the safety and the benefit / risk ratio of Molnupiravir before the end of November.“However, he will not have to wait for authorization from the European Medicines Agency (EMA) thanks to a derogation called the early access procedure. So that Molnupiravir is not only accessible in the hospital and that it can be prescribed by general practitioners will require a ministerial order.

For the moment, we do not know the modalities for the administration of this treatment. Still according to Les Échos, it would be prescribed for treatment and not as a preventive measure. “Don’t expect a miracle drug that will change everything. These are small advances that are added to each other, which must be combined with barrier measures, masks, hydroalcoholic gel, being tested, being vaccinated“, concludes Professor Mathieu Molimard.

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