Originally developed as an influenza treatment, molnupiravir is a capsule that is taken twice a day for five days by adult patients with mild-to-moderate COVID-19 symptoms.
It does not need to be refrigerated, making the drug suitable for use at high-risk locations and in rural areas.
Mr Morrison said supply to Australia would require approval by the Therapeutic Goods Administration, expected in early 2022. Delivery to the National Medical Stockpile would occur soon after.
Sotrovimab ‘saving lives already’
“Vaccines and new treatments like this will boost our national plan to safely reopen Australia and keep Australia safely open,” he said.
“Throughout this pandemic we’ve been closely watching developments for COVID-19 vaccines and treatments, and molnupiravir will be ready to go in Australia should it be approved by the TGA.”
Other COVID-19 treatments including remdesivir are already available to Australian doctors to help treat those with COVID-19.
Mr Hunt said all COVID-19 treatment assessment processes were being given the greatest priority as part of the government’s response to the pandemic.
“The TGA is allowing data on the safety and efficacy of COVID-19 treatments to be provided as it is available to allow for an early approval for use in Australia without skipping any steps,” he said.
“Vaccination remains the most important and safest way for Australians to protect themselves and their loved ones from COVID-19 – and almost 80 per cent of Australians aged 16 and over have now had their first dose.
“In addition to this, our government will continue to seek access to further treatments which will assist with Australians living with COVID-19.”
Mr Hunt said the treatments would be offered to states and territories in line with demand.
“I spoke with the immediate past deputy chief medical officer Professor Nick Coatsworth on the weekend about the use of sotrovimab, and his message was it’s saving lives already. It’s making a difference to the health of patients, that they are using it in the ACT.”
Australia is on the cusp of 80 per cent first vaccination this week, after the latest figures showed another 138,537 doses were administered in the 24 hours to Monday.
The national rollout total has passed 28.7 million doses, with 79.61 per cent of adults 16 and older having had at least one dose.
Now 56.88 per cent of adults are fully vaccinated.
Veteran Labor MP Joel Fitzgibbon said vaccinations should be mandatory for politicians, unless they had underlying health issues.
“We should be setting the standard for the broader Australian community and encouraging people to get vaccinated and to get those booster shots at the first opportunity,” he said.
Source : https://www.afr.com/politics/federal/oral-covid-19-treatment-molnupiravir-en-route-to-australia-20211004-p58x05497