Oral antiviral pill for COVID-19 being evaluated at Lung Center, volunteers sought

The Lung Center of the Philippines has been chosen as a clinical trial site for molnupiravir, an investigational oral antiviral pill being evaluated for the treatment of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

Developed by MSD (known as Merck in the United States and Canada) and Miami-based Ridgeback Biotherapeutics, the drug entered Phase 3 clinical trials this June.

The study will be conducted in more than 100 sites worldwide, with a target to enroll a total of 1,850 patients.

The trial, which consists of taking an 800-milligram dose of molnupiravir twice a day for five days, involves non-hospitalized adults with mild or moderate COVID-19 with at least one co-moribidity.

“As an oral treatment administered on an out-patient basis, molnupiravir has the potential to help patients with COVID-19 early in their course of disease,” said Dr. Mary Ann Galang-Escalona, country medical lead of MSD in the Philippines, citing data from the Phase 2 trial that shows clinical benefits for mild to moderate infection.

Final data from the Phase 3 portion (Part 2) of the study involving non-hospitalized patients is expected in September or October. The earliest possible submission for Emergency Use Authorization for molnupiravir in the United States, pending favorable results, is in the second half of 2021.

To enroll in the trial, contact the study investigator in Lung Center of the Philippines, Dr. Virginia Delos Reyes, at 0917-8999610, or visit msdcovidresearch.com. — Patricia B. Mirasol

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