WHO-led programme aims to buy antiviral COVID-19 pills for $10

  • Reuters claims, based on a draft document, that the World Health Organization has a programme to ensure poorer countries get fair access to COVID-19 vaccines, tests and treatments which includes antiviral drugs for patients with mild symptoms for as little as $10. 
  • Merck & Co's experimental pill molnupiravir is likely to be one of the drugs, and other drugs to treat mild symptoms are being developed. 
  • The document says that the programme wants to deliver about 1 billion COVID-19 tests to poorer nations, and procure drugs to treat up to 120 million patients globally, out of about 200 million new cases it estimates in the next 12 months. 
  • The plans highlight how the WHO wants to shore up supplies of drugs and tests at a relatively low price after losing the vaccine race to wealthy nations which scooped up a huge share of the world's supplies, leaving the world's poorest countries with few shots. 
  • An improvement in the inoculation rates would reduce deaths, hospitalisations, the pandemic’s impact on the health care system, and, foster a faster recovery rate for these poorer economies.

(Source: Reuters & NCBCM Research Team)