First oral antiviral treatment to fight COVID-19 could make big impact, if FDA authorized

MARYLAND-  We could see the first oral antiviral treatment to fight COVID- 19 in pharmacies in the future, and we’re told this could really be a game-changer if it gets authorized.

That antiviral pill is called molnupiravir, and it’s made by companies Merck and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics. After doing a study with the pill, they’re now seeking FDA emergency use authorization.

“We now have a potential treatment coming that is easy to administer, take it at home, you don’t need to get stuck with an injection for antibodies, it would be really great,” Matt Balish, a pharmacist with Apple Discount Drugs said.

If authorized, it could help treat infected adults who are at risk of progressing to a severe case of COVID-19 or hospitalization.

“The phase 3 trial that they did showed a 50 percent reduction in hospitalization for high risk people and that’s important because those are the people we want to keep out of the hospital,” Balish said.

A clinical Pharmacist at TidalHealth Nanticoke said that since this pill can be taken at home it could free up some resources at the hospital being used by COVID-19 patients.

“They won’t be here at the hospital you know utilizing the services of the hospital and you know we can use those for other people who either have different diseases or you know something else,” Kimberly Couch, a clinical pharmacist at TidalHealth Nanticoke said.

And, it could also help with shortages of other medications used to treat the disease.

“They don’t need to be in the hospital using some of the medications that we need to treat patients with more severe COVID or medications that we use to even treat things unrelated to COVID, but could be used in COVID patients as well,” Couch said.

While many factors are still up in the air, pharmacists say they are hopeful.

“This is something that could have a substantial impact and I think that at this time there isn’t anybody’s life who has not been touched by COVID-19 in some way,” Couch said.

Categories: Coronavirus, Local News, Maryland