Thailand’s Department of Medical Services today (Friday) received two million capsules, or 50,000 courses, of antiviral drug Molnupiravir from Merck and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics, the joint developers and manufacturers of the COVID-19 treatment.
Department head Dr. Somsak Akksilp said the drug will be distributed to hospitals in Bangkok and other provinces, for use by COVID-19 patients who develop mild or moderate symptoms and elderly COVID-19 patients. who have one of the seven underlying diseases and who are not on ventilators.
He added that the drug cannot be used by pregnant women or people with low white blood cell counts.
A third of the antiviral drug will be distributed next week, followed by two more servings on dates yet to be determined.
Dr Somsak said Bangkok would get a bigger share of the drug than other provinces because it has the most infections, adding that he expects the 50,000 courses to be completed within a week if the number of mild and moderate cases continues to increase.
Each patient will receive a course of Molnupiravir, four capsules to be taken by mouth twice a day for five days.
Dr Somsak said the drug has been shown to be effective in reducing the risk of death in severe cases, if taken within the first five days of the onset of symptoms.
Thailand today recorded the highest daily infections ever confirmed, at 27,071. The figure is for those who tested positive in RT-PCR tests. However, a large group of 23,157 people also tested positive using rapid antigen test kits who will need to have their results confirmed with RT-PCT tests.