SEREMBAN: The Health Ministry will consider buying other antiviral medicines to treat Covid-19 patients other than Molnupiravir, says Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin (pic).

“We got information that a pharmaceutical company in India has also produced an antiviral drug.

“We are not only going to get Molnupiravir but will consider others too.

“Our procurement will depend on how effective and safe the drug is,” he told reporters after a visit to the Mawar Medical Centre here on Saturday (Oct 9).

Khairy said this was similar to when the government procured Covid-19 vaccines from various companies.

On Thursday (Oct 7), Malaysia signed an agreement with Merck Sharp & Dohme to procure 150,000 courses of Molnupiravir.

This decision, he said, was in preparation for Malaysia’s move into the endemic phase and living with the Covid-19 virus.

Khairy had said research conducted by Merck found that Molnupiravir is able to reduce 50% of hospital admissions and effective against more infectious variants of Covid-19 including Gamma, Delta and Mu.

However, he stressed that Molnupiravir does not prevent Covid-19 infection and is only for treatment.

The antiviral pill will be given free of charge to Covid-19 patients who are symptomatic for at least five days or category three, four and five patients.

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