01 October 2021 | Statements

Unitaid statement on molnupiravir as a treatment for mild and moderate COVID-19

Geneva, 1 October 2021 – Unitaid, on behalf of partners in the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator, welcomes today’s announcement on molnupiravir, an investigational oral antiviral medicine for treatment of mild and moderate COVID-19. Interim Phase 3 clinical trial results show that molnupiravir significantly reduced the risk of hospitalization or death from COVID-19 by approximately 50 percent when given in the early stages of infection.

“Effective, simple to use, oral treatments that can avert the progression to severe illness are exactly the kind of breakthroughs we need to get the pandemic under control. Deployed alongside vaccines, such medicines could drive down hospitalizations and deaths due to COVID-19,” said Dr Philippe Duneton, Executive Director of Unitaid.

Such a treatment could fundamentally change the response to the pandemic, enabling integrated test-and-care strategies when deployed together with appropriate diagnostic tests.

Anticipating the possibility of a recommendation supporting use, Unitaid and ACT Accelerator partners are working to secure volumes of oral, outpatient treatment to ensure rapid access for people in low- and middle-income countries.

ACT Accelerator strategic priorities reflect the activities and funding needed to support an effective, oral treatment for mild and moderate COVID-19, which could directly benefit over 100m patients in low and middle-income countries. Access planning is key to ensure adequate supply and rapid deployment of effective tools. This announcement stresses the need for additional funding for tests and treatment, and the activities needed to make them available as rapidly as possible in all countries.

ACT Accelerator partners’ work is focused on closing the equity gap and ensuring that new tools can benefit people affected by COVID-19, no matter where they live. Fully funding the work of the ACT Accelerator Therapeutics and Diagnostics Pillars will ensure the latest treatments reach all countries where they are needed.

About Unitaid
Unitaid is a global health agency engaged in finding innovative solutions to prevent, diagnose, and treat diseases more quickly, cheaply, and effectively, in low- and middle-income countries. Its work includes funding initiatives to address major diseases such as HIV/AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis, as well as HIV co-infections and co-morbidities such as cervical cancer and hepatitis C, and cross-cutting areas, such as fever management. Unitaid is now applying its expertise to address challenges in advancing new therapies and diagnostics for the COVID-19 pandemic, serving as a key member of the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator. Unitaid is hosted by the World Health Organization.

About the ACT-Accelerator

The Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator is a global coalition of organizations developing and deploying the new diagnostics, treatments and vaccines needed to end the acute phase of the pandemic. Pooling the expertise of its many partners, the ACT-Accelerator has quickly ushered in rapid, affordable tests and effective medicines, and established the COVAX facility for the equitable procurement and distribution of vaccines in low- and lower-middle-income countries.

Media contact

Hervé Verhoosel, Unitaid, Geneva | verhooselh@unitaid.who.int | tel. +44 77 29 618 634

Maggie Zander, Unitaid, Geneva | zanderm@unitaid.who.int | tel. +41 79 593 17 74

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