First pill to treat Covid-19 gets approval in UK

Concerns about people returning to work 10 days after positive Covid-19 test.

Molnupiravir, an anti-viral pill to treat Covid-19, has been approved for use in the UK. - Credit: PA IMAGES

The first pill for Covid-19 treatment has been approved for use in the UK.

Molnupiravir, an anti-viral pill, is for people who have had a positive coronavirus test and are at risk for developing severe illness, such as being over the age of 60, having diabetes, obesity 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-19 who are at extra risk from the virus.

The drug, made by 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.