Fake Covid antiviral in Switzerland bears Vietnamese label

By Chi Le   May 5, 2022 | 10:48 pm PT
Fake Covid antiviral in Switzerland bears Vietnamese label
Two sides of a bottle of a fake Covid-19 drug found in Switzerland, with the label saying it was produced in Binh Duong in southern Vietnam. Photo courtesy of the Drug Administration of Vietnam
The drug administration on Thursday issued a warning regarding a fake Covid-19 antiviral molnupiravir drug found in Switzerland, whose label states it was produced in Vietnam.

The World Health Organization said a 400 milligram molnupiravir drug, packaged into 20 pills, was found in Switzerland. Its label carries Vietnamese words saying the drug was produced at a company in southern Vietnam's Binh Duong Province.

Laboratory testing in Switzerland revealed that the drug did not contain the active ingredients as it was supposed to have.

The Drug Administration of Vietnam under the Ministry of Health said the drug was fake, but its true identity and origin are yet to be confirmed. It has requested local health departments to report to drug businesses and post information about the fake drug on websites.

Molnupiravir is a Covid-19 antiviral used by Vietnam and several other countries to treat mild and asymptomatic Covid-19 cases. In Vietnam, three drugs with molnupiravir are approved for production and distribution: Molravir 400 by Boston Vietnam, Movinavir 200 by Mekorpha, and Molnupiravir Stella 400 by Stellapharm.

Molnupiravir inhibits the replication of certain viruses by introducing errors in their viral RNA replication. It would result in "an accumulation of errors in the viral genome leading to inhibition of replication," also known as viral error catastrophe.

The drug reduces viral load in the early stages of Covid-19, reducing risks of severe symptoms and deaths.

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