Srinagar, Dec 29: With the approval of influenza drug Molnupiravir for Covid-19 patients, Doctors Association Kashmir (DAK) on Wednesday said the drug reduces the risk of hospitalization and death in Covid patients.
“Molnupiravir prevents death in Covid patients when given early in the course of illness,” said DAK President and Influenza expert Dr Nisar ul Hassan.
Quoting a study, Dr Hassan said Molnupiravir reduced the risk of hospitalization and death from Covid by 30 percent.
“The drug was found to have life-saving benefits in mild to moderate cases of Covid-19 who were at risk of developing severe disease,” he said.
“The study also reported that Molnupiravir was equally effective against the Gamma, Delta and Mu variants as it was against the original strain,” he added.
The DAK President said while the drug was not tested against Omicron, early data suggests that the drug is effective against the new variant.
“Originally developed to treat influenza, Molnupiravir is a repurposed oral antiviral drug that works by blocking the virus from replicating in the body,” he said.
Dr Nisar said the drug can safely be given to adults above 18 years of age.
“The drug is not recommended for use in children and pregnant women. It is not to be used for prevention of Covid or in patients hospitalized due to Covid,” he said.
“However, if it was initiated before hospitalization, it may be continued,” he added.
General Secretary DAK Dr Arshad Ali said Molnupiravir can be taken twice a day for five days by people at home.
“The pill has to be started as soon as possible, within five days of the start of symptoms,” he said.
“With the winter surge of Covid cases and the arrival of Omicron variant, the drug could provide a much needed arsenal to prevent Covid infection from culminating in severe disease,” he added.
Spokesperson DAK Dr Riyaz Ahmad Dagga said the antiviral drug has received approval in several countries like US and UK.
“Yesterday, India’s drug regulatory body cleared molnupiravir for the treatment of adult Covid-19 patients with mild to moderate disease and who have at least one risk factor for poor disease outcome,” he said.
“The risk factors that can put Covid patients at risk of severe disease include obesity, old age or underlying medical conditions like diabetes, heart, lung, kidney or liver disease, and cancer,” he added.