Britain becomes first country to approve Merck's anti-COVID-19 pill

WION Web Team
London Published: Nov 04, 2021, 07:39 PM(IST)

Molnupiravir has lower efficacy, shows new analysis Photograph:( Reuters )

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The Biden administration had earlier informed that it planned to buy 1.7 million doses of Merck's anti-Covid pill if it is approved by US regulators.

UK regulators on Thursday approved Merck's anti-Covid pill as the country continues to grapple with the virus.

The country's health minister Sajid Javid said: "Today is a historic day for our country, as the UK is now the first country in the world to approve an antiviral that can be taken at home for Covid-19."

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Javid described it as a "game-changer" for the "most vulnerable and the immunosuppressed".

Molnupiravir reportedly slows down the ability of the virus to replicate. Britain's Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) recommended that the pill should be taken during the early stages of infection.

The health agency said the pill helps to reduce the risk of hospitalisation and death in mild to moderate COVID-19 cases.

The Biden administration had earlier informed that it planned to buy 1.7 million doses if it is approved by US regulators. Merck has signed agreements with other countries as it seeks wider participation.

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Britain's approval comes as the virus cases continue to mount in the country with health officials worried over its impact during the winter.

UK is one one the hardest-hit country in the world due to the virus with over 141,600 fatalities and 9.2 million coronavirus cases so far. 

Meanwhile, European Medicines Agency (EMA) said it could "speed up assessment" of the pill amid rising coronavirus cases in the continent.

"We are also ready to give advice to European Union member states so that they could make this new oral antiviral available for emergency use, ahead of the authorisation," it said.

(With inputs from Agencies)

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