UK health authorities have given the nod to begin its distribution of Merck’s antiviral COVID-19 treatment for reducing complications arising from the coronavirus.
The announcement is the first of its kind, with a treatment for COVID-19 taken via oral administration regarded as a breakthrough.
Known as molnupiravir, the drug is still awaiting review with regulators within the U.S. as well as other nations. The treatment is also expected to be considered for a possible approval process by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in November of 2021.
According to British health secretary Sajid Javid: “Today is a historic day for our country, as the U.K. is now the first country in the world to approve an antiviral that can be taken at home for COVID-19.”
“We are working at pace across the government and with the NHS to set out plans to deploy molnupiravir to patients through a national study as soon as possible.”
Despite some having declared the COVID-19 pandemic has been contained, many have still considered restriction measures to prevent further outbreaks, with the SARS-CoV-2 having killed more than 5 million people and infected over a quarter of a billion worldwide.