May Order 1,500 Doses of a “Breakthrough” COVID Treatment Skip to content

May Order 1,500 Doses of a “Breakthrough” COVID Treatment

By Ragnar Tómas

Minister of Health Svandís Svavarsdóttir
Photo: Golli. Minister of Health Svandís Svavarsdóttir.

The health authorities are considering buying up to 1,500 doses of Molnupiravir (sold under the brand name Lagevrio), RÚV reports. Molnupiravir is currently not authorised in the EU, although the European Medicines Evaluation Agency has issued advice in case of exemptions.

Capsules that inhibit the replication of RNA viruses

In response to an inquiry from RÚV, the Directorate of Health stated that it has purchased medicines to treat COVID-19 in hospitals for approximately ISK 160 million ($1.2 million / € 1.1 million), in addition to other more conventional treatment.

The Directorate of Health also revealed that it is currently considering purchasing up to 1,500 doses of the antiviral medication Molnupiravir. As noted in a summary of the product on the UK’s Medicines & Healthcare products Regulatory Agency, Molnupiravir is “an antiviral medication that inhibits the replication of certain RNA viruses, and is used to treat COVID-19 in those infected by SARS-CoV-2.”

Although Molnupiravir is currently not authorised in the EU, the European Medicines Evaluation Agency has issued advice to medicines agencies in Europe if they desire to grant exemptions, in light of rising infection rates, for example.

“The medicine, which is currently not authorised in the EU, can be used to treat adults with COVID-19 who do not require supplemental oxygen and who are at increased risk of developing severe COVID-19. (Molnupiravir) should be administered as soon as possible after diagnosis of COVID-19 and within five days of the start of symptoms. The medicine, which is available as capsules, should be taken twice a day for five days.” Molnupiravir is not recommended during pregnancy.

Already approved in the UK

The UK has already approved the treatment and ordered 480,000 doses, expected to be delivered next month. Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid called Molnupiravir a “game-changer.”

The Danish authorities have also purchased doses of the treatment and will receive shipments before Christmas. “The pill could prevent the coronavirus from multiplying, and in that way, there would be fewer viruses in the body,” explained Lars Østergaard, professor at Aarhus University and chief medical officer at Aarhus University Hospital in October.

“This means that the risk of infection transmission is reduced and that you could thus help slow the spread of infection,” he added.

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