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COVID-19 prevention pill trial in Maryland

Molnupiravir could be answer to Omicron variants
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Posted at 3:59 PM, Jul 12, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-13 15:01:22-04

ELKRIDGE, Md. — A possible prevention pill for COVID-19, molnupiravir may be the answer to the COVID-19 pandemic that the world has been waiting for.

“It could become the Tamiful for flu where you give people something when you think you get exposed, so you don’t get it,” said Dr. Steven Geller, the chief of research for the Centennial Medical Group in Howard County.

When someone tests positive for COVID-19, people living with them who have not been vaccinated are being offered this oral alternative.

“What they’re trying to prove in this study is that by giving molnupiravir to family members of patients who have COVID, we can prevent those family members from getting COVID or having to go to the hospital,” Geller said.

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Eight months ago, the Federal Drug Administration authorized the drug’s emergency use for those diagnosed with COVID-19 and at high risk of severe illness or death, but it may hold even more promise.

Unlike monoclonal antibodies, which must be given intravenously, a doctor could write a prescription for these pills, and you could pick them up at a pharmacy that same day.

The trial also will give researchers a chance to see if the pill is effective against Omicron and its variants, which are driving a recent spike in cases here in Maryland.

Pre-clinical trials suggested that’s the case, but if it can be proven, it could reduce the future chance of outbreaks in the vaccinated and unvaccinated, alike.

“There are a significant number of people who refuse to get vaccinated for one reason or another,” Geller said. “and for those people, it would be great if when they were exposed to COVID, we could give them some pills to take and reduce their chance of going to the hospital so it could be a real game-changer for the people who don’t want to get vaccinated.”