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Factory to step up production of Molacovir
State Enterprise Pharmaceutical Factory No. 3 in Vientiane plans to step up the production of Molacovir, an oral medication used in the treatment of Covid-19.
Molacovir is the Lao tradename for molnupiravir, a drug that was developed by scientists in the United States.
The Lao factory aims to increase output in response to rising demand.
The plant’s Managing Director, Dr Lahounh Chanthabout, said the number of patients requiring the drug had risen from 1,000 last year to a predicted 2,000 to 3,000 this year.


The factory began producing Molacovir in December and has so far manufactured enough capsules to treat about 1,000 Covid-19 patients. The drug has been distributed to pharmacies in Vientiane and several provinces.
It is hoped that production can be increased to meet the needs of all Covid patients, so that everyone who needs Molacovir can obtain it.
The factory has been unable to meet demand because of the increase in the number of Covid patients.
The main benefit of Molacovir is that it can be administered orally in pill form instead of needing to be injected. Forty capsules are required for each patient.
The factory is selling Molacovir at 400,000 kip for one course of treatment, which last for five days. To qualify for treatment, patients must not show signs of pneumonia or oxygen shortage.
Use of the new drug is part of government efforts to combat the spread of Covid, Dr Lahounh said.
The drug pilot programme is targeting people aged 18 and over who have mild or moderate symptoms of Covid and are in the early stages of the disease.
Other countries using molnupiravir are administering the drug to people over 60 and those with underlying health conditions.
State Enterprise Pharmaceutical Factory No. 3 was authorised to produce molnupiravir following advice from the Minister of Health, Dr Bounfeng Phoummalaysith.
Molnupiravir was originally developed to treat influenza at Emory University in the United States. It was then acquired by Miami-based Company Ridgeback Biotherapeutics, which later partnered with Merck & Co. to develop the drug further.

By Phetphoxay Sengpaseuth
 (Latest Update January 13, 2022)

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