The government has signed a Letter of Undertaking (LoU) with the American multinational pharmaceutical company Merck Sharp & Dohme to obtain the antiviral drug Molnupiravir.
The government will purchase 150,000 patient courses to treat Covid-19 under this agreement.
In a statement issued today, Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin states that the decision was made to prepare for the endemic phase of living with the Covid-19 virus by adding new innovative treatment options to combat Covid-19, in addition to vaccination and other public health approaches.
“Research by Merck Sharp & Dohme found that Molnupiravir decreases ward admissions by 50 per cent, while also being effective against vicious variants such as Gamma, Delta, and Mu.
“I would like to however point out that even if Molnupiravir is effective, it does not mean vaccinations are no longer needed as vaccines are used to reduce and prevent severe infections.
“The Molnupiravir drug cannot prevent infection. It is only beneficial to those who have been infected.
“We need both methods to reduce the effects of the Covid-19 infection, giving a bigger boost in our efforts to prevent and control the spread of the virus,” he stresses.
Khairy states that the Health Ministry would continue to monitor drug developments related to Covid-19 treatment around the world to ensure Malaysia does not fall behind in providing the best treatment for its people.
Cynthia Magdalen Ignatius contributed to this story