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CSIR to decide on human clinical trials of Molnupiravir –– a drug that blocks SARS-CoV-2 in 24 hours

By taking the drug orally, treatment can be initiated early for preventing the condition of the patient from becoming severe.

Written by Anuradha Mascarenhas | Pune | Updated: December 7, 2020 12:06:50 pm
Molnupiravir, covid drug, covid oral drug human clinical trials, Molnupiravir, COVID 19 treatment, indian expressAccording to the researchers, Molnupiravir is the first oral anti-viral drug to quickly block SARS-CoV 2. (Representational image)

A decision on conducting human clinical trials with a new promising antiviral drug, Molnupiravir, will be taken at the strategic group meeting of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) on Monday evening. A study published in Nature Microbiology, shows how this repurposed drug suppresses SARS-CoV2 transmission within 24 hours.

Dr Shekhar Mande, Director General CSIR told The Indian Express that this is an exciting development. “Researchers in the US have shown how the transmission is blocked in ferrets. It is like any other anti-flu drug and was on our list of drugs to go into clinical trials. We will take it up soon. A meeting will be held this evening to decide,” Dr Mande said.

The study, published by researchers at the Institute for Biomedical Sciences, Georgia State University, claims that a new antiviral drug has been designed which successfully suppresses the SARS-CoV-2 virus and inhibits transmission within 24 hours. According to the researchers, this is the first oral antiviral drug to quickly block SARS-CoV 2.

Molnupiravir is being developed by the biotechnology firm Ridgeback Biotherapeutics in collaboration with pharmaceutical firm Merck. By taking the drug orally, treatment can be initiated early for preventing the condition of the patient from becoming severe.

Dr Mande explained that the drug is basically an inhibitor of RNA in cells and does not allow it to make copies of the virus. “Other drugs also do something similar but it is exciting to see that transmission being blocked in ferrets.”

There is a basket of drugs which are under consideration. There are several on the priority list –– for instance, the drug umifenovir which is mainly used for treatment of influenza has potential to be used against Covid-19 and is undergoing clinical trials , Dr Mande said.

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