The treatment was, however, associated with a faster recovery time and reduced viral detection and load – participants who received molnupiravir reported feeling better compared to those who received usual care.
Molnupiravir (brand name Lagevrio) was the first treatment to be studied by the Platform Adaptive trial of NOvel antiviRals for eArly treatMent of COVID-19 In the Community (PANORAMIC), set up to identify which groups of higher risk people were most likely to benefit from new antiviral treatments for COVID-19. The study allows multiple antiviral drugs to be tested in parallel.
Chris Butler, Professor of Primary Care in the Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences and co-Chief Investigator of PANORAMIC, said:
‘Finding effective, safe and scalable early treatments for COVID-19 in the community is the next major frontier in our research response to the ongoing worldwide pandemic. It is in the community where treatments could have a massive reach and impact. But decisions about who to treat should always be based on evidence from rigorous clinical trials that involve people who would most likely be prescribed the drugs.
‘The evidence PANORAMIC has produced about molnupiravir will guide treatment decisions for COVID-19 world-wide. It is rapidly generating critically important clinical evidence from within the pandemic to guide care during the pandemic itself, in this case determining effects of molnupiravir among people who are almost all vaccinated.
‘We must not forget the other ongoing pandemic of antibiotic resistance, which in part stems from using antimicrobial drugs at scale before we did rigorous clinical trials to find out who really benefits form treatment, and who does not. The PANORAMIC team is also doing the necessary trials and gathering evidence about these treatments before we go straight to widespread use.’