Shipments of life-saving COVID-19 treatment sotrovimab land as government shuts down antiviral pill

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Deliveries of life-saving COVID-19 treatment have arrived in Australia and the Minister of Health is confident that Australia will soon also acquire a COVID-19 antiviral drug in tablet form.

Fifteen thousand doses of sotrovimab have landed in Australia in the past few days.

The drug has been shown to deter people with mild COVID symptoms from developing more severe cases that could result in hospitalization or death.

People with COVID-19 symptoms who receive a single intravenous dose of sotrovimab are 79 percent less likely to be hospitalized or die of the disease, according to the Ministry of Health.

Health Secretary Greg Hunt said sotrovimab will reduce the effects of COVID-19 on many people who become infected with it.

“This will be available to patients who are at risk of having their COVID serious, and it is already saving lives and protecting lives,” said Hunt.

The government estimates that around 8 to 15 percent of people who have contracted COVID-19 are recommended treatment with sotrovimab, which must be given within five days of symptoms appearing.

A total of 7,700 doses were secured in August prior to drug agency approval, which was granted on August 20.

That order has since increased, with a total of 31,000 cans expected to arrive in the coming months.

COVID-19 tablet could be available early next year

Mr Hunt said the government is also in “very advanced” talks to acquire another experimental COVID-19 treatment, nicknamed “Molnu”.

Molnupiravir or Molnu is an antiviral tablet from Merck & Co that is hailed as a breakthrough treatment.

The tablet has yet to be approved in the US, but the results of the late studies were so positive that independent monitors recommended discontinuing it early so the company can apply for emergency approvals.

Mr. Hunt said he was already in talks with the local director of Merck & Co.

“I spoke to the Australian CEO about this on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. I put it this way, we are very well positioned to have discussions with them and I would say stay tuned to find out more about this, “he told 3AW.

“If it were available, we would hope it could be brought forward to the first half of next year, if not earlier.”

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