Vietnam approves first Covid medicines for emergency use

By Chi Le   February 17, 2022 | 06:00 am PT
Vietnam approves first Covid medicines for emergency use
Packets of molnupiravir distributed for Covid-19 patients at home in HCMC. Photo courtesy of the HCMC Center for Disease Control
The health ministry said Thursday it has approved for the first time three anti Covid-19 drugs containing molnupiravir for emergency use.

The three drugs are Molravir 400 by Boston Pharma, Movinavir 200 mg by Mekophar Chemical Pharmaceutical and Molnupiravir Stella 400 by Stellapharm, a representative of the Drug Administration of Vietnam under the Ministry of Health.

These drugs are the first Covid-19 antivirals to be approved in Vietnam.

Le Van Truyen, head of the Advisory Council for the Registration of Circulation of Drugs and Medicinal Ingredients, said the decision to approve domestically produced molnupiravir means Vietnam can produce Covid-19 drugs on its own. There would also be no copyright problem as the Medicines Patent Pool (MPP) has allowed Vietnam to produce this drug, he added.

The health ministry will also consider allowing other businesses to produce molnupiravir if they are technically qualified to do so in order to avoid a monopolistic situation, Truyen said.

With domestic production okayed, a molnupiravir market will develop in Vietnam, he added. Earlier, when the drug was not yet approved and only the health ministry was allowed to distribute it to Covid-19 patients, it was sold illegally. Now that it is approved, the molnupiravir market would be managed by the health ministry, Truyen added.

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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