The oral antiviral pill, molnupiravir, made by drugmaker Merck, has received emergency use authorization (EUA) from Taiwan's Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the agency said Tuesday.
FDA Director General Wu Shou-mei (???) said the agency held a meeting on Jan. 8 to review Merck's application for an EUA, and granted the permit.
Merk is also known as Merck Sharp & Dohme (MSD) outside the United States and Canada. The EUA comes at a time Taiwan is experiencing an increase in domestically transmitted COVID-19 cases from the Omicron variant.
In response, Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) spokesman Chuang Jen-hsiang (???) told reporters that the CECC plans to purchase up to 10,000 courses of molnupiravir, and the drug is scheduled to arrive in Taiwan in phases after the Lunar New Year holiday, which will begin on Jan. 29 and run through Feb. 6.
Chuang said molnupiravir will be used to treat those who get sick but develop only mild COVID-19 symptoms in a bid to prevent their infections from becoming more severe.
However, he also said details about how to use the drug are pending discussions among experts.
To date, Taiwan has confirmed 17,463 COVID-19 cases since the pandemic began in early 2020, of which 14,647 are domestic infections. Taiwan has recorded 43 domestic cases in January so far, all but four linked to Taoyuan International Airport.
With no deaths reported Tuesday, the number of confirmed COVID-19 deaths in the country remains at 850. Taiwan last reported a death related to COVID-19 on Dec. 19.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel