Greece will start giving anti-viral pills as of next week to people in high-risk groups aged 18+ who have tested positive with a PCR or a rapid test, said Alternate Health Minister Mina Gaga during a regular briefing on Thursday.
Usage approval of the molnupiravir pill will be given within 24 hours after a doctor files online for it, Gaga said, and both the doctor and the patient will be notified by a text message. Following the patient's consent, also online, molnupiravir will be delivered at at home. Pregnant women will not be prescribed this medication, she noted.
At the briefing, member of the Health Ministry's Covid committee Vana Papaevangelou said that new coronavirus infections rates are stabilizing in all regions of Greece except Thrace and some islands, but active infections are very high, at 150,000 cases. The daily average of new infections over the last 7 days is 18,000, she added.
A 57% of regular Covid hospital beds are currently occupied in the country's national health system, while 75% of beds are occupied in intensive care units. Hospital admissions have dropped 12%, while 8 in 10 patients are now infected with the Omicron variant, Papaevangelou said.
RESOURCE | ABOUT MOLNUPIRAVIR:
Molnupiravir is an antiviral medication that inhibits the replication of certain RNA viruses. It is used to treat COVID-19 in those infected by SARS-CoV-2.
Molnupiravir is a prodrug of the synthetic nucleoside derivative N4-hydroxycytidine and exerts its antiviral action through introduction of copying errors during viral RNA replication.
Molnupiravir was originally developed to treat influenza at Emory University by the university's drug innovation company, Drug Innovation Ventures at Emory (DRIVE), but was reportedly abandoned for mutagenicity concerns. It was then acquired by Miami-based company Ridgeback Biotherapeutics, which later partnered with Merck & Co. to develop the drug further.
Based on positive results in placebo-controlled double-blind randomized clinical trials,Molnupiravir was approved for medical use in the United Kingdom in November 2021. In December 2021, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted an emergency use authorization (EUA) to molnupiravir for use in certain populations where other treatments are not feasible. The emergency use authorization was only narrowly approved (13-10) because of questions regarding efficacy and concerns that molnupiravir's mutagenic effects could create new variants that evade immunity and prolong the COVID-19 pandemic.[Wiki]