UK approve antiviral pill to treat COVID-19

The UK have become the first country to approve an oral pill said to ease covid symptoms significantly in those suffering with mild-to-moderate symptoms.

The Medicines & Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency authorised the drug to be used within the UK by people at home who have mild to moderate Covid symptoms.

The drug, which is manufactured by US pharmaceutical company Merck, underwent clinical trials which showed that the risk of hospitalisation was halved, and death was halved in those who were suffering from Covid symptoms.

The UK placed an order for nearly half a million courses of molnupiravir as the first pill available to the market. Other pharmaceutical companies such as Pfizer and Roche and also working on similar medication which are currently going through the trial process.

Out of the 775 participants who had covid, only 7.3% of those given the drug were hospitalised compared to 14.1% of those who were given a placebo pill. The trial showed there were no deaths in the patients given molnupiravir but 8 patients who were given a placebo did later die of Covid.

Health Secretary, Sajid Javid said: "Today is a historic day for our country, as the UK is now the first country in the world to approve an antiviral that can be taken at home for Covid."

Professor Stephen Powis, national medical director for NHS England, said: "The NHS stands ready to support the planned study on molnupiravir and other antivirals in patients at higher risk of complications, and to provide wider roll out if it is shown to be clinically and cost effective in reducing hospitalisations and death."

The introduction of the pill comes at a time when the NHS are notoriously overrun with winter related illnesses. It is hoped that the at home treatment, which should be taken twice a day and soon after symptoms develop will help to ease the pressures on the NHS.

NHE Sept/Oct 21

NHE Sept/Oct 21

Improving care for long-term conditions

Join us in our September/October edition of National Health Executive, as we explore a range of topics impacting and improving the care that we can deliver to patients, the facilities within which we deliver them, and the opportunities in the digital space to accent and evolve our care capabilities


View all videos
National Health Executive Presents

National Health Executive Presents

NHE365 Virtual Festival: Digital Healthcare

The integration of new technology, such as using virtual outpatient appointments instead of face-to-face reviews of patients in the hospital. Adapting the ways in which our NHS workers serve people has been critical in continuing to provide high-quality treatment, a positive patient experience and preventing Covid-19 transmission during the pandemic. Our healthcare sector has the potential to transform the way we continue to provide essential services while also improving patient care. But how easy is the integration of these innovations into routine NHS practice?

On the 28th of October, at the NHE365 Virtual Hospitals & Technology Enabled Care online event, we will be discussing patient flow and experience, reducing waiting times, reducing the patient backlog and increasing technology adoption. Will you be attending? 

Finger on the Pulse

Ep 14. Health messaging is a science, Professor Craig Jackson

On Episode 14 of NHE's Finger on the Pulse podcast, we're joined by Professor Craig Jackson, Professor of Occupational Health Psychology
Birmingham City University to discuss the coronavirus pandemic, the health messaging around it and how those in power have missed a trick by overlooking the key role of psychology in informing the public of restrictions, measures and the ever-changing situation

More articles...

View all