Egypt’s Acting Health Minister Khaled Abdel-Ghaffar made an announcement on 24 January that Egypt has approved and is providing Merck’s antiviral oral drug Molnupiravir for treatment of mild and moderate cases of COVID-19. This makes Egypt the first country in Africa and the Middle East, and the fourth in the world, to do so.
The Minister thanked the Egyptian Drug Authority (EDA) for approving the drug for emergency use, also for granting licence to five local drug manufacturers to produce
Tamer Essam, who heads the EDA, said that some 25,000 packets of Molnupiravir have already been produced locally, and that the raw material needed to produce another 150,000 packets are already available.
According to EDA, Molnupiravir can decrease hospitalisations and deaths by half for mild to moderate COVID cases.
The EDA’s decision comes a month after the US Food and Drug Administration gave approval for emergency use to Molnupiravir for the early treatment of people suffering from mild to moderate COVID-19 symptoms or those at an increased risk of developing severe illness.
Molnupiravir will only be allowed for use inside hospitals to ensure full medical supervision and compliance with the standards set by the relevant scientific committees for continuous therapeutic follow-up, the EDA said.
The Health Ministry reported 1,651 new COVID-19 infections on 24 January, up from 1,603 the day before, and 28 deaths. This brings the total cases up to 411,749 and the death toll up to 22,396.
Health officials have said that Omicron has become the dominant coronavirus variant nationwide, and citizens are strongly urged to take the vaccine.
Egypt has so far imported some 132 million doses of various coronavirus vaccines and has opened 1,393 vaccination centres, the acting Health Minister said. The country has administered some 60.5 million vaccine doses, including first and second shots, as well as half a million booster shots, Dr Abdel-Ghaffar noted. Around 206,000 doses have been administered to children aged 12 to 15, while about 1.4 million shots have been given to teenagers aged 15 to 18.
25 January 2022