Like any other antiviral drug, COVID pill works towards neutralising the virus’s ability to replicate. While vaccines block viral entry into the body, antiviral pills stop these viruses from causing more damage post-infection.
Recently, Molnupiravir, an oral antiviral pill developed by pharma giant Merck, was approved by Central Drugs and Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO) for “restricted emergency use” in patients whose oxygen levels are at 93 percent with high risk of disease progression.
On Monday, the oral drug was launched in India at Rs 1,399 for a five-day course for mild to moderate infection. Dr Reddy`s, Natco, Mylan, and Hetero are in the process to manufacturing the oral pill.
While the antiviral pill has been approved by the drug regulators, Dr Balram Bhargava, Director general of the Indian Council of Medical Research has expressed safety concerns over the indiscriminate use of the drug, suggesting that it can cause mutagenicity, muscle and bone damage.
In the US and the UK, Plaxovid is another oral antiviral pill developed by Pfizer.