New drug eliminates Covid-19 infections in three days, experts say

A new anti-Covid pill can eliminate an infection in just days, a study has revealed.

Clinical trials of the American drug Molnupiravir have shown it to be effective in rapidly "eliminating" mild to moderate Covid-19 symptoms after three days of treatment, Nine News reports.

Symptoms, especially loss of smell and fatigue, improve quicker after a five-day course of the pill, the study, carried out by Merck & Co — the manufacturer of the drug — also revealed.

Molnupiravir, an "oral antiviral prodrug", has reportedly been used to fight other coronaviruses, and has been provisionally approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration in Australia.

BARI, ITALY - JANUARY 11: Doctor holds in her hands the Lagevrio pill, Molnupiravir indicator for the treatment of Covid 19 on January 11, 2022 in Bari, Italy. The European Medicines Agency (EMA) announced in a press release published on January 10, that it will examine application for marketing authorization for the antiviral pill developed by Pfizer. Both Pfizer and Merck antiviral drugs have been hailed as potentially revolutionary in the fight against Covid-19, as studies show they reduce the risk of hospitalization and death in patients at increased risk of developing a severe form of the disease. (Photo by Donato Fasano/Getty Images)
Molnupiravir is an 'oral antiviral prodrug' and is most effective when taken within five days of developing symptoms. Source: Getty

The drug is most effective when the patient starts treatment within five days of developing symptoms.

The study reportedly found that none of the 92 participants with Covid-19 still had the virus by day three of taking Molnupiravir.

However, 21 per cent of participants who were given a placebo still had the virus at that time.

Dr Julie Strizki, a scientist who headed the study, said this shows that Molnupiravir helps to clear infections "faster than placebo", even with immunocompromised patients.

It can also "lower the risk of progression to serious illness," she claims.

Molnupiravir has also been shown to reduce Covid hospitalisations and deaths if taken early on in the course of an infection, the New York Times reports.

The results of the study will be presented at the European Congress of Clinical Microbiology & Infectious Diseases with the hope it will be approved for emergency use in Europe, according to Nine News.

There have been an additional 64,038 Covid cases in Australia in the last 24 hours.

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