Two antiviral COVID-19 treatments approved


Friday, 21 January, 2022

Two antiviral COVID-19 treatments approved

The government has welcomed the Therapeutic Goods Administration’s (TGA) provisional approval of the first oral treatments for COVID-19, Lagevrio (molnupiravir) and Paxlovid (nirmatrelvir + ritonavir).

These are oral antiviral treatments that have been found in clinical trials to be effective in treating people with mild to moderate COVID-19 who have a high risk of progressing to severe disease, reducing admissions to hospital and ICU, as well as potential death.

The government has secured access to 300,000 treatment courses of Merck Sharp & Dohme’s (MSD) Lagevrio and 500,000 courses of Pfizer’s Paxlovid for supply throughout the course of 2022, with the first deliveries of both medicines anticipated over the coming weeks.

These oral antiviral treatments need a prescription and are taken every 12 hours for five days. They are designed to interfere with the virus’s ability to multiply.

Lagevrio and Paxlovid will supplement the existing National Medical Stockpile supplies of Xevudy (sotrovimab) and Veklury (remdesivir) and future supplies of Evusheld (tixagevimab with cilgavimab), the latter pending a final TGA decision on registration.

Xevudy is an intravenous monoclonal antibody that can also be used to treat people with mild to moderate COVID-19 who have a high risk of progressing to severe disease. It has proven effective against the Omicron variant with additional supply also secured for delivery over the coming months.

Veklury is being used for the clinical care of people with moderate to severe COVID-19 symptoms who have been admitted to hospital but do not require ventilation assistance in line with the recommendations of the National COVID-19 Clinical Evidence Taskforce.

The government is working to target access for the elderly and those in aged care through the National Medical Stockpile (NMS) with a view to transitioning to Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) arrangements as supply continues to grow.

Image credit: ©stock.adobe.com/au/MiaStendal

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