The first anti-viral pill for the treatment of Covid-19 has been approved for use in the UK.
Molnupiravir is for people who have had a positive Covid test and have at least one risk factor for developing severe illness, such as obesity, being over the age of 60, diabetes or heart disease.
The UK’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) said the drug is safe and effective at reducing the risk of hospital admission and death in people with mild to moderate Covid who are at extra risk from the virus.
The drug, from Ridgeback Biotherapeutics and Merck Sharp & Dohme (MSD), works by interfering with the virus’s replication.
This prevents it from multiplying, keeping virus levels low in the body and therefore reducing the severity of the disease.
The MHRA said the drug should be taken as soon as possible following a positive Covid-19 test and within the first five days.