The antiviral drug Molnupiravir will be given free of charge to Covid-19 patients who are symptomatic for at least five days or in Category Three, Four and Five, Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said today.
He said although the percentage of fully vaccinated adults was now close to 90%, the health ministry had found that Covid-19 infections were still occurring.
“We need these treatment pills in addition to our vaccination programme. We found that with these pills we give doctors the option to give them to those who have not been vaccinated and those who have. It will be given for free.
“Merck Sharp & Dohme clinical trials have shown its effectiveness in treating Category Three, Four and Five cases, especially those with symptoms for four to five days,” he said after visiting Hospital Kuala Lumpur today.
The government, through the health ministry, has signed a letter of undertaking to procure the antiviral drug to add new innovative treatment options to its arsenal in the fight against Covid-19.
Through the agreement with American multinational pharmaceutical company Merck Sharp & Dohme, the government agreed to procure 150,000 complete treatment packages for use on Covid-19 patients.
Molnupiravir has also been proven to be effective against more aggressive Covid-19 variants such as Gamma, Delta and Mu.