A new antiviral medicine on Friday included a conditional recommendation by the World Health Organisation (WHO) in its living guidelines on COVID-19 therapeutics.
Molnupiravir is the first oral antiviral drug to be included in the treatment guidelines for COVID-19.
“Today’s recommendation is based on new data from six randomized controlled trials involving 4796 patients. This is the largest dataset on this drug so far,” the WHO said in a statement.
If used “as early as possible” after infection, the drug can help prevent hospitalisation.
The WHO warned that Molnupiravir should be administered only to non-severe COVID-19 patients with the highest risk of hospitalisation because of little safety data and data gaps.
Such patients include those who have not received a COVID-19 vaccine, older people, persons with immunodeficiencies and persons living with chronic diseases.
Additionally, children and pregnant and breastfeeding women should not take the drug, and people who take Molnupiravir ought to have a contraceptive plan, the WHO noted.
The WHO said that steps were being taken to increase access to the drug not widely available.