Molnupiravir (Antara/Merck & Co Inc/HO via Reuters/as/aa)

MANILA – Clinical trials are ongoing on the possible use of oral pill molnupiravir as prophylaxis to prevent an exposed person from contracting the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).

Dr. Benjamin Co, the clinical investigator of the MOVe-Ahead clinical trial at the Asian Hospital and Medical Center (AHMC), said the AHMC in Alabang, Muntinlupa and Quirino Memorial Medical Center in Project 4, Quezon City have been conducting the studies since November last year.

"Ang clinical trial na ginagawa natin ngayon ay sa bagong indikasyon. It has not been proven na puwede natin gamitin ito for post-exposure prophylaxis at ito po ang tinitignan natin ngayon puwede bang magamit (The clinical study that we are conducting is for a new indication. It has not been proven yet that we can use this for post-exposure prophylaxis and this is what we're studying right now)," he said in a Laging Handa briefing Saturday.

Co said the trial seeks to find out if an exposed person who has not been infected yet with SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2) can take molnupiravir.

"Ang ibig sabihin po ng post-exposure prophylaxis ay kung kunwari ako, mayroon akong Covid at na-expose po kayo sa akin, ay maaari na ba kayong uminom ng molnupiravir para hindi kayo magkaroon ng infection (For example, I am a Covid patient and you were exposed to me, we want to find out if you can already take molnupiravir to prevent you from getting infected)," he said.

Co said those interested to join the trials may call 0968-5583091 or 0927-0076642.

MOVe-Ahead is a Phase 3 study in 17 countries and will enroll approximately 1,332 participants who will receive either molnupiravir (800 mg) or placebo orally every 12 hours for five days.

Participants must be at least 18 years of age and currently residing in the same household with a Covid-19 patient.

The criteria also require that they have not yet received a Covid-19 vaccine and that they have not been infected by SARS-CoV-2 in the past.

"During the clinical trial, once you fulfill the inclusion criteria, we will get in touch with you and we will randomize you. We will first secure your consent na pumapayag kayo na masali dito sa clinical trial na ito at makakatulong po tayong lahat sa mundo (that you want to participate in this clinical trial)," Co said.

"Ang gusto nating malaman ngayon is makakalabas ba tayo sa pandemyang ito and we can if there is a drug that can help prevent us from, iyong 'pag na-expose ka lang, iinom ka ng gamot para hindi ka na magkakaroon ng Covid (We want to find out if we can already exit this pandemic and we can if there is a drug that can help prevent us from getting Covid if we were exposed to a patient)," he added.

Co assured that all participants would be treated with care and that safety and follow-up measures would be in place.

The first study on molnupiravir found that it reduces the risk of hospitalization or death by approximately 50 percent. (PNA)