MSD in Australia today announced that LAGEVRIO (molnupiravir) an oral antiviral treatment for adults with COVID-19 who do not require initiation of oxygen due to COVID-19 and who are at increased risk for hospitalisation or death, received provisional approval by the Therapeutic Goods Administration.1
LAGEVRIO will be made available in non-hospitalised settings, in line with the provisional approval, to treat eligible Australian patients with COVID-19 who are at risk of hospitalisation or death.1
LAGEVRIO is an oral antiviral for the first-line treatment of COVID-19 in eligible adults at risk of hospitalisation or death.1 The therapy works by inserting itself into the viral RNA of COVID-19. As a result, the virus can no longer reproduce.1
Dr Gary Jankelowitz, Medical Director, MSD Australia says, “The provisional approval of this oral antiviral treatment for COVID-19 in eligible at-risk adults is a regulatory milestone in the ongoing fight against COVID-19.”
He adds, “LAGEVRIO has the potential to help address a medical need in the community. MSD acknowledges the partnership and support of the Australian Government and the Minister for Health and Aged Care, Hon Greg Hunt MP, in making this treatment option available for eligible adults.”
In October 2021, the Australian Government entered into an agreement with MSD to secure 300,000 treatment courses of LAGEVRIO once provisionally approved. LAGEVRIO will be supplied to the National Medical Stockpile in accordance with the terms of the agreement between MSD and the Australian Government.
Dr Paul Griffin, Infectious Disease Physician and Microbiologist at Mater Health, Brisbane, says “Taken twice daily for five days, access to this oral antiviral provides an additional option to Australia’s pandemic response. Importantly, this treatment allows the virus to be treated in community settings.”
He adds, “The availability of an oral treatment for eligible patients with mild-to-moderate disease will mean that patients will be able to be at home, and be actively treated.Vaccination is still the number one line of defence against COVID-19, but we need multiple defences against the virus, including treatments for those who are at high risk for progression to severe disease.”