SWITZERLAND: A World Health Organisation (WHO) panel on Wednesday backed the use of Merck & Co COVID-19 antiviral pill for high-risk patients.
The expert panel conditionally recommended the pill, molnupiravir, for patients with non-severe disease who are at high risk of hospitalisation, such as the immunocompromised, the unvaccinated, older people and those with chronic diseases.
The recommendation was based on new data from six clinical trials involving 4,796 patients. Since molnupiravir’s United States authorisation in December, demand for the pill among COVID-19 patients has taken a hit from comparatively low efficacy and potential safety issues for certain groups. The WHO panel said it was also preparing recommendations for Pfizer’s rival COVID-19 antiviral pill, Paxlovid. Pfizer’s pill was shown to be nearly 90 per cent effective in preventing COVID-19 hospitalisations and deaths, compared with 30 per cent for molnupiravir. – THE HINDUSTAN TIMES