Government signs letter of undertaking to purchase antiviral drug, Molnupiravir

KUALA LUMPUR (Oct 7): The government, through the Ministry of Health (MOH), today signed a letter of undertaking to purchase the antiviral drug, Molnupiravir as an additional choice in the innovative treatment against COVID-19.

Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin (pictured) said through the agreement with Merck Sharp & Dohme, the government agreed to procure the package of 150,000 patient courses of the medication.

"This decision was made in preparing us for the transition to the endemic phase to enable us to live with the virus by having additional choices in new innovative treatment as a weapon against Covid-19, apart from using other vaccines and taking public health actions,” he said in a statement today.

Khairy had previously announced that Malaysia had already started the discussion to procure the antiviral drug from Merck Sharp & Dohme, in boosting the treatment efforts during the transition period while living with COVID-19.

He added that based on studies conducted by the company, using Molnupiravir could reduce the rate of admission to the wards by 50 per cent.

“It is also effective against the more aggressive COVID-19 variants such as Gamma, Delta and Mu.

"However, I wish to state here that although Molnupiravir is effective, it does not mean that vaccines are no longer required in reducing infections and preventing a worse outbreak.

"The Molnupiravir drug cannot prevent infection. It is only useful for those already infected,” he added and stressed that the government needed both methods to reduce the burden brought by COVID-19 and for the infection prevention and control efforts to have a bigger impact.

Khairy said the MOH would continue monitoring the developments involving medications used in treating COVID-19 patients across the world to ensure that Malaysia was not left behind in providing the best treatment for its people.

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