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Molnupiravir in SL within the month

07 Dec 2021

BY Buddhika Samaraweera Several suppliers have expressed interest in importing the Covid-19 oral antiviral pill molnupiravir and the first batch of the pill is likely to be imported within this month, The Morning learnt. Speaking to The Morning, Production, Supply, and Regulation of Pharmaceuticals State Ministry Secretary Dr. S.K. Rathnayake said: “Several suppliers have now expressed interest to import the molnupiravir pill. They are currently in the process of submitting reports with regard to clinical trials on it and other information related to the said pill to the National Medicines Regulatory Authority (NMRA). Once NMRA approval is given, the suppliers can proceed with the import.” When questioned as to whether there is any planned time frame during which it will be imported, Dr. Rathnayake said: “Most likely it will be imported within this month. Let’s see.” Meanwhile, when queried as to whether a decision has been taken on how many pills will be imported into the country first, he said that the quantity of pills to be imported will be decided by the Director General of Health Services (DGHS). “The DGHS has not informed us of a quantity yet, but he will inform us in due course,” he added. Attempts to contact Health Ministry Communications Director, Public Health Services Deputy Director General (DDG), and Disaster Preparedness and Response Division Head Dr. Hemantha Herath to inquire about the groups to which the molnupiravir pill would be given and how it would be distributed, proved futile. Molnupiravir is an antiviral medication that inhibits the replication of certain ribonucleic acid (RNA) viruses and is used to treat Covid-19. Sri Lanka’s Covid-19 Technical Committee recently granted approval for the use of molnupiravir, making it the first oral antiviral medication to be approved for the treatment of Covid-19 in Sri Lanka. Developed by Ridgeback Biotherapeutics and Merck Sharp and Dohme Corporation, molnupiravir works by interfering with the virus’s replication. This prevents it from multiplying, keeping virus levels low in the body, and therefore reducing the severity of the disease. Based on clinical trial data, it is most effective when taken during the early stages of infection and therefore has been recommended for use as soon as possible, following a positive Covid-19 test and within five days of the onset of symptoms. The UK Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) had authorised molnupiravir for use in people who have mild to moderate Covid-19 and at least one risk factor for developing severe Illness, such as obesity, old age, diabetes mellitus, or heart disease.

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