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New Zealand gets 1st shipment of COVID-19 oral treatment pill

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May 02, 2022 - 09:39 AM

ANKARA (AA) – New Zealand on Thursday received the first shipment of molnupiravir, an oral pill to treat COVID-19, the country’s health minister said.

In a statement, Andrew Little said the oral pill will protect people from becoming critically ill and subsequent hospitalizations.

“Anti-virals stop people with mild COVID-19 symptoms from becoming very sick and needing to go to hospital, and because they are pills, they are easy for people to take at home,” said Little.

Molnupiravir, produced by Merck, an American pharmaceutical company, had received the approval from the US Food and Drug Administration last year.

New Zealand’s health regulatory authority also approved it for emergency use.

“We already have four medicines – Baricitinib, Ronapreve, Remdesivir and Tocilizumab – being used in hospitals, and this month another anti-viral, Paxlovid, started being used to treat people at home,” said Little.

However, he said vaccination is still the best defense against the virus.

“Adding molnupiravir into the mix means doctors have got a range of medicines to combat the worst symptoms of COVID-19 and protect people who are immunocompromised or have complex health conditions. It also helps prevent the health system from being overwhelmed,” Little said.

* Writing by Islamuddin Sajid

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