Source: Vientiane Times
State Enterprise Pharmaceutical Factory No. 3 in Vientiane is manufacturing a revolutionary new drug named Molacovir for use in the early stages of Covid-19.
The drug is administered orally and under Lao copyright is known as Molacovir.
The new drug formula was first used in the treatment of influenza and was developed by scientists at Emory University in the United States.
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved molnupiravir for use in the early treatment of Covid-19 patients, raising confidence in the future reduction of the high mortality rate from the virus.
The manufacture of Molacovir in Laos and the pilot programme will be monitored by the World Health Organisation.
A senior official at the factory, who asked not to be named, told Vientiane Times on Friday that the factory began making the pills in December and has so far manufactured enough to treat about 1,000 Covid-19 patients.
The main benefit of Molacovir is that it can be administered orally in pill form instead of needing to be injected. Forty capsules are required for each Covid patient.
To qualify for treatment, patients must not show signs of pneumonia or oxygen shortage. They will be given the pills over a period of five days. The factory is selling Molacovir at a price of 400,000 kip for one course of treatment. It has been given to about 500 Covid patients and been distributed to pharmacies in Vientiane and several provinces.
Use of the new drug is part of government efforts to combat the spread of Covid, the factory official said.
The pilot programme targets people aged 18 and over who have mild or moderate symptoms of Covid and are in the early stages of the disease, she added. Other countries using molnupiravir are administering the drug to people over 60 and those with underlying health conditions.
A senior official at the Department of Food and Drugs, Ministry of Health, who asked not to be named, said the department had looked into the efficacy of molnupiravir and whether it is more effective than other Covid drugs developed for use through vaccination.
The ministry subsequently authorised State Enterprise Pharmaceutical Factory No. 3 to produce molnupiravir, following advice from the Minister of Health, Dr Bounfeng Phommalaysith.
Molnupiravir was originally developed to treat influenza at Emory University in the United States. It was then acquired by Miami-based company Ridgeback Biotherapeutics, which later partnered with Merck & Co. to develop the drug further.