WHO has updated its living guidelines on COVID-19 therapeutics. The ninth update released on 03 March 2022 include a conditional recommendation on molnupiravir.
Molnupiravir has become the first oral antiviral drug to be included in the treatment guidelines for COVID-19. As this is a new medicine, there is little safety data. Therefore, WHO recommends, molnupiravir should be given only to non-severe COVID-19 patients with the highest risk of hospitalization such as older people, people with immunodeficiencies and people living with chronic diseases.
No recommendation was made in patients with severe or critical illness as there are no trial data on molnupiravir for this population.
Children, and pregnant and breastfeeding women should not be given the drug.
This recommendation on conditional use of molnupiravir is based on new data from six randomized controlled trials involving 4796 patients. This is the largest dataset on this drug so far.
Molnupiravir is not widely available but steps have been taken towards increasing access, including the signing of a voluntary licensing agreement.
- WHO 2022. News release – WHO updates its treatment guidelines to include molnupiravir. 3 March 2022. Available at https://www.who.int/news/item/03-03-2022-molnupiravir
- Practice Rapid Recommendations: A living WHO guideline on drugs for covid-19. Originally published 04 September 2020. updated 3 March 2022. BMJ 2020; 370 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.m3379