Two new drugs that change the rules of the game .. How do oral treatments for Corona work?

Nearly two years after the outbreak of the Corona pandemic, it has become abundantly clear that we need better treatments for the disease caused by the virus, especially for people in the early stages of the disease.

Recently, the American company “Pfizer” announced that the clinical tests conducted for the first pill of its kind that it produced to treat patients with Covid-19 show that it is highly effective, while the American pharmaceutical company “Merck” said that experimental tablets it produces to treat infection with the virus. Corona has cut hospital admissions and deaths in half.

The two new antiviral drugs could soon be the first effective oral treatments for corona and to prevent the infected cases from deteriorating, requiring hospitalization.

An advisory committee to the US Food and Drug Administration plans to review data supporting the drug “molnupiravir” – which is a pill made by Merck and its partner, Ridgeback Therapeutics – at the end of this month, and at the same time, Pfizer’s treatment called “Baxlovide” is approaching. (Paxlovid) – which is in the form of antiviral pills – has achieved promising results, and a few days ago, Pfizer officially requested an emergency license for oral pills from the Food and Drug Administration.

If these drugs are licensed in the coming weeks, they could be an important new treatment option for people with corona, especially those at high risk in the early stages of infection. The ability to treat corona with pills – rather than injections or intravenous fluids – means that more people can be treated faster.

And in an article site “The conversation,” wrote Patrick Jackson, an assistant professor of infectious diseases at the University of Virginia, that new treatments are promising and can be easily administered to patients by medical professionals.

Here’s a look at the importance of these new antiviral drugs, how they work and how they can be used.

Filling the gap in treatment

So far, researchers have found a small number of effective drugs in the treatment of corona that can use the antiviral “monoclonal antibody” to treat patients who have not been hospitalized.

However, these antibody drugs, which work by preventing the virus from entering cells, must be administered in a medically supervised setting.

In the United States, monoclonal antibody treatments may be free to patients under an emergency use authorization, but may eventually become more expensive if they receive full approval from the Food and Drug Administration.

Early data indicate that both treatments Molnopiravir and Baxlovid are effective new drugs, and patients can receive them at home to prevent complications from corona and the risk of death, and can be especially useful for those most vulnerable to severe illness due to infection with the virus.

Once licensed, these pills will allow patients to be treated early in the infection course by preventing the virus from growing in the body earlier, and the drugs can prevent severe pneumonia caused by severe infection with corona that can lead to death.

How does Molnopiravir and Baxilovid work?

Molnopiravir works by causing the virus to register inaccurate genetic information; The virus stores its instructions for making new viruses in a chain of ‘ribonucleic acid’ (RNA).

Inside the cell, the virus makes copies of its RNA and then continues to make new copies. When a patient takes molnopiravir, the drug disguises as one of the main molecules in the RNA and is incorporated into the strands produced by the virus.

When an RNA strand containing molnoperavir is transcribed, the virus, in turn, makes transcription errors. During multiple rounds of replication, molnopiravir leads to more and more errors until the virus becomes inoperable, a phenomenon in virology called “error catastrophe”.

As for baxlovid, it uses a different method to prevent the virus from multiplying; The virus creates the proteins needed to build new viruses as a single long chain called a polyprotein. But multiple proteins must be cut into smaller pieces by a viral enzyme called a protease in order to become active.

Treatment blocks the viral protease enzyme from doing this job, thus preventing the virus from completing its life cycle.

How will the new pills be used?

There are currently two main types of treatment for corona in the United States: antiviral drugs and anti-inflammatory drugs.

Antiviral medications reduce the growth of the virus in the body and are given within the first few days of symptoms to prevent severe illness. While anti-inflammatory drugs dampen the immune response and are used to help sick patients who need oxygen.

Molnopiravir and baxlovid were studied in separate clinical trials, and in both studies, outpatient drugs with risk factors for severe MERS-CoV infection were tested in patients who were early in their disease. Both studies also looked at how likely patients were to die or be hospitalized. However, no study has yet been reviewed by specialized juries.

Molnopiravir reduced the risk of death by approximately 50% among non-hospitalized adult patients with mild to moderate MERS-CoV when treated within 5 days of symptom onset.

Baxlovid reduced this risk by 89% for patients treated within 3 days of symptoms and 85% for patients treated within 5 days.

Importantly, no patients who took either drug died in the studies. However, studies say it is difficult to determine whether one will actually be better than the other.

And in early November, Britain agreed to use molnoperavir to be the first country in the world to approve the anti-corona drug molnoperavir produced by the American “Merck” laboratories.

British Health Minister Sajid Javid said, “It is a historic day for our country, because the United Kingdom has become the first country in the world to approve an antiviral that can be taken at home for treatment of Covid-19.”

He stressed that “this will change the situation of vulnerable individuals, and those with immunodeficiency, to be able soon to use this revolutionary treatment.”

Source : The island + The Conversion + Websites

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