PUTRAJAYA: Malaysia has signed an agreement with Merck Sharp & Dohme (MSD) to procure antiviral medicine Molnupiravir for Covid-19 treatment.
Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said the government signed a letter of undertaking on Thursday (Oct 7) to procure 150,000 courses of Molnupiravir to treat Covid-19 patients.
"This decision was made in preparation for Malaysia's move into the endemic phase and living with the Covid-19 virus. This is another "weapon" of choice to fight the coronavirus, besides the use of vaccines and other public health measures,” said Khairy in a statement.
Khairy said research conducted by Merck Sharp & Dohme found that Molnupiravir is able to reduce 50% of hospital admissions and is also effective towards more infectious variants of Covid-19 including Gamma, Delta and Mu.
The minister however stressed that Molnupiravir does not prevent infection and is only beneficial for people who have been infected by Covid-19.
He added that vaccines are still vital in the fight against Covid-19.
"Even though Molnupiravir is an effective medicine, it does not mean that vaccines are no longer needed. The purpose of vaccines is to reduce the chance of being infected and also to avoid severe infection," he said.
"We need both methods to reduce the burden of the Covid-19 disease and at the same time provide a bigger impact in our efforts to prevent and control the transmission of the virus," added Khairy.