Antiviral treatments for mild-moderate COVID-19: what you need to know

As we close out the second year of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is easy to see that we are in a very different place in terms of testing and treatments than we were in 2020. 

In particular, there are now a handful of antiviral drugs available to treat mild-moderate COVID-19. Here’s what you need to know:

What antiviral treatments are available to treat mild-moderate COVID-19?
For non-hospitalized patients who are at risk of progressing to severe COVID-19, there are currently three treatments available:

  • Molnupiravir– an oral medication from Merck that inhibits the replication of certain RNA viruses.
  • Paxlovid– the combination of nirmatrelvir and ritonavir, paxlovid is an oral protease inhibitor from Pfizer. 
  • Sotrovimab– an injectable, neutralizing monoclonal antibody (mAB) from GSK and Vir Biotechnology. 

Are these treatments FDA approved?
These drugs have Emergency Use Authorization status from the FDA, but not full approval.

Who is eligible to receive these treatments?
These treatments are available for people with mild-to-moderate COVID-19 who have received a positive SARS-CoV-2 viral test, and are at high risk for progression to severe COVID-19. However, each treatment has its own criteria: 

  • Paxlovid and Sotrovimab can be used in patients 12 years or older, who weigh at least 40 kg (roughly 88 pounds).
  • Molnupiravir is for patients who are at least 18 years old, and for whom alternative authorized  COVID-19 treatment options are not accessible or clinically appropriate.

Who is considered to be at high risk of progression to severe COVID-19?
People with some chronic conditions are at higher risk of progression to severe COVID-19, including cancer, chronic kidney disease, chronic lung diseases, diabetes, and heart conditions, among others.

Everyone’s first line of defense is to become vaccinated, wear a mask, and practice good hygiene, such as hand washing. But if you do get a mild or moderate case of COVID, there are now safe and effective treatment options–and we applaud the pharmaceutical industry for working quickly to deliver them.

We will continue to update our partners and members as more become available. 

This blog was written by Mey Reytor, Pharm Dc, and Sherly Rosado, Pharm Dc.

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