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Molnupiravir more effective than Favipiravir for Covid patients: WHO


The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends the use of antiviral Molnupiravir over Favipiravir in the treatment of Covid-19 patients, a respiratory specialist said in a Facebook post on Tuesday.

Dr Manoon Leechawengwongs said WHO recommends using the Molnupiravir on patients who had been infected for less than five days. The antiviral is effective on patients who have mild symptoms but are at risk of developing severe symptoms and even dying from the virus.


The antiviral comes in 200mg capsules and patients are required to consume four capsules every 12 hours for five days. The pill can be prescribed to outpatients to ease the severity of symptoms and cut down on the death rate by 30 per cent.

A batch of Molnupiravir has arrived in Thailand and will be distributed to hospitals next week. Since the supply of this antiviral drug is limited, it will only be prescribed to high-risk patients such as the unvaccinated, the elderly, people with chronic diseases and those with low immunity.

Molnupiravir cannot be prescribed to pregnant or soon-to-be pregnant women, as well as those who are breastfeeding because the drug may affect young children adversely, Manoon said.

He also added that the drug may have unknown side effects like cancer, and the Covid-19 virus may develop a resistance to it and mutate. Hence, he said, long-term effects of the drug need to be studied further.

Manoon added that WHO has never advised people to use the antiviral drug Favipiravir because no studies are confirming it can significantly prevent the severity and fatality of Covid-19.

Once Thailand has sufficient supplies of Molnupiravir and Paxlovid, a new antiviral drug developed by Pfizer, the Government Pharmaceutical Organisation (GPO) should stop manufacturing and importing Favipiravir, he said.

Last week, Medical Services chief Somsak Ankasil had said that enough Molnupiravir doses for 50,000 people had arrived in Thailand and once the labels are ready, the pills will be distributed among hospitals. He added that Paxlovid is scheduled to arrive in April.

 

Molnupiravir more effective than Favipiravir for Covid patients: WHO

Published : March 15, 2022

By : THE NATION