Covid-19: Molnupiravir tablet can be game-changer in stopping coronavirus transmission

Molnupiravir could be the magical cure that the world has been waiting for in its fight against Covid-19. As per researchers, Molnupiravir can block Covid-19 transmission within 24 hours.

A new drug has become the talk of the town to fight Covid-19. It is Molnupiravir. If the experiment carried out in an American university holds true in larger human trials, this could be the magical cure that the world has been waiting for in its fight against Covid-19.

Molnupiravir is an anti-viral drug that is taken orally — in tablet or capsule form. The scientists at the Institute of Biomedical Sciences in the American state of Georgia have found that Molnupiravir stops the transmission of SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes Covid-19, from one ferret (a European polecat) to another within 24 hours.

The results have been published in the Nature journal. The Molnupiravir drug — MK-4482/EIDD-2801 – had earlier been found to stop some influenza viruses. The scientists repurposed the same drug to check its efficacy on the novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2.

After the successful trial was published in the journal, the Indian researchers at the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) plan to undertake human trials of the drug in the country. If human trials, when conducted, return with positive results, this could be the real game-changer in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.

There is no proven drug for the treatment of Covid-19. Remdesivir, the Ebola drug, had emerged as a life-save in severe cases of Covid-19 and was being administered to such patients. But the scientists and doctors have now said Remdesivir is not a bankable drug.

Even the World Health Organisation (WHO) has given its stamp of approval to what doctors have found during treatment of Covid-19 patients. Remdesivir does not help in reducing the stay at a hospital or in easing the severity of the Covid-19 illness.ADVERTISEMENT

The Molnupiravir experiment is the first demonstration of an orally available drug that is effective against SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus. In their experiment, the researchers infected ferrets with SARS-CoV-2. When the animals started shedding coronavirus from their nostrils, the scientists gave one group of ferrets Molnupiravir drug, and the other placebo.

They found that shedding of the virus stopped within 24 hours of initiating the treatment of the ferrets. New contacts did not catch the coronavirus. But the contacts of such ferrets who received placebo continued to get infected.

Taking forward their experiment, the researchers took it to the human trials-level. Currently, the Molnupiravir experiment is in phase-2/3 of human clinical trials, according to the article published in the Nature. It is being carried out by pharmaceutical firm Merck, which is developing the Molnupiravir drug in collaboration of biotechnology firm Ridgeback Biotherapeutics.

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