What Is The Molnupiravir and How Beneficial Is It For The Treatment Of Covid-19

Pharmaceutical major Merck and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics recently announced that the result of phase 3 MOVe-OUT trial have shown that molnupiravir (MK-4482, EIDD-2801), an investigational oral antiviral medicine, reduced the risk of death and hospitalization of Covid-19 adult patients by 50 percent.

7.3% of patients who received molnupiravir were either hospitalization or died (28/385), compared with 14.1% of placebo treated patients (53/337). After 29 days of monitering, no deaths were reported who received molnupiravir compared with 8 deaths in those who received the placebo.

About Molnupiravir

Molnupiravir is an experimental antiviral drug which is orally active and was developed for the treatment of influenza. It is a prodrug of Synthetic nucleoside derivative N4-hydroxycytidin.

Other Name MK-4482, EIDD-2801
Legal Status US: Investigational drug
CAS Number 2349386—89—4
Formula C13H19N3O7
Molar Mass 329.31 g·mol—1

The drug was developed at Emory University by the University's drug innovation company, Drug Innovation Ventures at Emory (DRIVE). In late 2019, the National Institute of Allargy and Inffectious Disease approved moving EIDD-2801 into Phase 1 clinical trials for influenza. In March 2020, the research team pivoted to studing SARS-CoV-2 and successfully used the drug to treat human cells infected with the novel coronavirus. DRIVE then licensed EIDD-2801 to Miami-based company Ridgeback Biotherapeutics for human studies, who later partnered with Merck & Co.  to develop the drug further.

Is Molnupiravir a Game-Changer For Covid-19 Treatment?

If approved by the health regulators, a new and effective Covid-19 treatment, molnupiravir, could be a versatile tool for doctors to treat Covid-19 patients and at least save their lives. Molnupiravir is a pill, unlike other drugs with similar efficacy used in Covid-19 treatment which are expensive, not widely available or only marginally effective and needs to be administered intravenously. Meanwhile treatments that have little evidence behind them, like the antiparasitic drug invermectin and the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine have gained traction in some circles.

How Molnupiravir Works?

Molnupiravir works a lot like the antiviral drug remdesivir. The SARS-CoV-2 virus, which causes Covid-19, makes copies of itself by encoding instructions on RNA, which is made of 'base' molecules identified by the letters A, C, U and G. While remdesivir imitates A (Adenosine), molnupiravir can mimic U (Uracil) or C (Cytosine).

When the virus incorporates remdesivir into its RNA, the drug causes its reproduction cycle to stall. Molnupiravir works a little different, causing genetic mutations that hamper the virus. Crucially these drugs can fool the virus, but they don't fool human cells, so they have a targeted effect and for the most part leave the human cells alone.


Molnupiravir is the first oral, direct-acting antiviral shown to be highly effective at reducing nasopharyngeal SARS-CoV-2 infectious virus and viral RNA and has a favorable safety and tolerability profile.

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