Molnupiravir: New drug to treat COVID-19

On October 1, 2021, Pharmaceutical company “Merck and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics” announced the early results of Phase-3 trials of its anti-viral drug called molnupiravir. As per the results, Molnupiravir has reduced the chances of hospitalisation by half among COVID-19 patients with mild or moderate symptoms.


  • Placebo trials comprised of testing a drug on thousands of people. Among them, some get the drug and some do not.
  • In the group that do not get placebo, 53 patients or 14% of the patients were either hospitalised or had died. On the other hand, among the group that got drug, 28 patients or 7.3% were hospitalised or succumbed to the covid-19 infection.
  • Patients were monitored for 29 days. No deaths were reported among the patients who received molnupiravir. On the other hand, eight deaths were reported among those who received placebo.

Is molnupiravir effective against COVID-19 treatment?

Complete result of phase 3 trials form molunupiravir is still unknown. However, the drug has reassured the hospitalisation-avoidance rates. Company will be submitting data to the United States Food and Drugs Administration soon for a review. Following it, this drug may be approved for emergency use authorisation.

Patient tested with the drug

This drug has been tested only in patients having mild-to-moderate COVID-19, so far. Patients had started treatment within five days of testing positive. They had at least one risk factor, out of obesity, older age, diabetes or heart disease, which increased their risk for severe disease.

Working mechanism of molnupiravir

Molnupiravir drug has been named as ‘EIDD 2801’ by the company, where ‘E’ indicates it was developed at Emory University. The antiviral drugs work by inhibiting a process by which the virus replicates. In case of molnupiravir drug, when tested on cultured cells, it works by altering critical enzymes which are necessary for virus to start replicating the host cells of body.




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