New Delhi: India has approved Merck’s COVID-19 pill and two more vaccines for emergency use. The emergency approvals come at a time when measures are being taken to ramp up oxygen supplies and strengthen the country’s health infrastructure.
Molnupiravir will be manufactured in India by 13 companies for restricted use under emergency situations for treatment of adult patients with COVID-19, Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya said in New Delhi this morning.
Merck’s antiviral pill ‘Molnupiravir’ was authorised by the US last week for certain high-risk adult patients and has been shown to reduce hospitalisations and deaths by around 30% in a clinical trial.
Earlier this year, Aurobindo Pharma, Cipla, Sun Pharmaceuticals and some others signed non-exclusive voluntary licensing agreements with Merck to manufacture and supply Molnupiravir in India.
Two other COVID vaccines, Serum Institute of India’s version of Novavax Inc’s shot, ‘Covovax’ and homegrown drugmaker Biological E’s ‘Corbevax’ were also granted emergency use approval, he said.
The announcement comes a day after the Subject Expert Committee (SEC) on COVID-19 of the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO) recommended granting Emergency Use Authorisation (EUA) to the COVID vaccines Covovax and Corbevax with certain conditions.
It also had recommended granting restricted emergency use approval to ‘Molnupiravir’ to treat adult patients with COVID-19 and who have high risk of progression of the disease. With this approval, the number of Covid vaccines which have received emergency use authorisation in the country has increased to eight.