The Korea Herald


S. Korea approves 2nd COVID-19 pill Lagevrio

By Kan Hyeong-woo

Published : March 23, 2022 - 15:30

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Anti-COVID-19 pill Lagevrio (MSD) Anti-COVID-19 pill Lagevrio (MSD)
The South Korean government has approved the emergency use of anti-COVID-19 pill Lagevrio, the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety said Wednesday.

The medicine, co-developed by US pharmaceutical company MSD and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics, is the second anti-coronavirus pill to be authorized by the country’s health officials, following the approval of Pfizer’s antiviral drug Paxlovid in December.

Amid the surging number of COVID-19 cases, the ministry said the approval decision was made on the basis of a need to present an alternative treatment for high-risk patients who could not take the existing medicine due to certain illnesses related to the kidney or liver.

According to the ministry, pregnant women and patients under the age of 18 will be excluded from the list of people who can take the newly approved pill. The ministry said some of the side effects of Lagevrio include dizziness, diarrhea and nausea.

The government on Monday announced a plan to introduce a batch of Lagevrio that will include enough supply for 100,000 COVID-19 patients this week.

Lagevrio, also known as Molnupiravir, has obtained either a conditional or an emergency approval in 15 countries including the US and UK. The medicine’s phase 3 clinical trial data showed that if the drug is given within five days from the onset of the symptoms, it can cut the hospitalization rate in half for people with mild to moderate symptoms.

With hundreds of thousands of daily confirmed cases being reported in the last 10 days, the country’s accumulated caseload has surpassed 10 million as of Tuesday.