News | Govt signs deal to buy ‘breakthrough’ Covid-19 drug

PETALING JAYA: The government has entered into an agreement with an American pharmaceutical company to buy the “breakthrough” Covid-19 drug Molnupiravir.

Health minister Khairy Jamaluddin said the letter of undertaking was signed with Merck Sharp & Dohme today and the government will buy 150,000 patient courses packages.

“The decision to buy Molnupiravir is in line with our preparations to move into the Covid-19 endemic phase.

“Research by Merck Sharp & Dohme found that Molnupiravir can reduce hospitalisation and works against Covid-19 variants such as Gamma, Delta and Mu,” he said in a statement. A large number of cases in Malaysia reportedly involved the Delta variant.

Khairy also said although Molnupiravir is effective, vaccines are still needed to reduce the risk of infection.

Molnupiravir cannot, however, be used for preventive measures and can only benefit those who have contracted the virus.

Previously Khairy said the government was negotiating with Merck Sharp & Dohme to procure an experimental Covid-19 antiviral pill which can halve the chance of death or hospitalisation.

The drug has been hailed as a “potential breakthrough” in the battle against the virus.

Reuters reported that if Molnupiravir gets authorised, the pill would be the first oral antiviral medication for Covid-19. The pill has been designed to introduce errors into the genetic code of the virus. – FMT

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