Covid-19: Pills to treat the virus now being offered in Wales

The trial for antiviral medications for COVID-19 has begun and it appears to be positive.

The first set of patients in Wales have received antiviral medications to take at home if they test positive for COVID. It is the first time an antiviral drug has been tested for COVID. The project is led by Oxford University and carried out in Wales by Public Health Wales, Health and Care Research Wales and Cardiff University.

This molnupirvir tablet experiment is being carried out in the United Kingdom. Roughly 3,000 people in Wales have taken part since it began on December 8. It is hoped that antiviral COVID tablets, together with vaccines and a booster programme, will decrease the number of patients admitted to hospitals as a result of the virus.

Antiviral medication

Molnupiravir was a medication initially prepared to treat influenza. It is now being used in the first clinical trial of a COVID-specific antiviral. Rather than being injected or given intravenously, it can be taken as a tablet. Many people who suffer from severe health conditions have been taking the tablet, and it has worked well for them. One such patient who suffers from epilepsy and severe chronic pain took these medicines while she was tested positive and had a great response. She claims:

If I hadn't started taking them then I genuinely think I would have ended up hospitalised, they made a huge difference within 24 hours

Favipiravir and ivermectin, two other antivirals, have also been examined to see if they work against COVID, a process known as re-purposing. According to experts, antiviral medicines can lessen the symptoms of the virus and all coronavirus strains are expected to be equally potent against the antiviral.

Game changers

Experts believe that while vaccination and boosters remain the most effective approach to protect ourselves, antiviral medications may prove to be game-changers in the pandemic. The pills must be taken twice a day and within five days of the onset of symptoms as part of the trial. In Wales, anyone over the age of 50, or those aged 18 to 49 with an underlying health problem, a positive Covid-19 test (PCR or LFT), and symptoms lasting less than five days can participate.

Those with cancer or a rare neurological disorder like Huntington's disease, who are at the highest risk of severe Covid side effects, should have received a letter from their health board. These folks will be able to use the tablets even if they are not participating in the trial. If you have a positive Covid test, Health and Care Research Wales will send you a text message with a link to the study's website.

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