(MNS Photo)

MANILA, Oct 19 (Mabuhay) — Molnupiravir is not an alternative to vaccines in the prevention of COVID-19, MSD Philippines president Dr. Beaver Tamesis said on Monday.

In an online news forum organized by the Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines, Tamesis said the pill should be complementary to the vaccines.

“Vaccines will always be better because prevention is better than cure, right? Even if this drug is already available, please note that even in our studies, it’s just a 50% reduction. It’s not a 100% reduction,” Tamesis said.

MSD Philippines is a subsidiary of Merck, the manufacturer of molnupiravir.

A health expert previously has said molnupiravir may be taken orally once exposed to COVID-19 as it decreases by half the chances of mild cases from becoming severe as well as exposed individuals from acquiring the illness.

“Fifty percent of patients who catch this, and these are high-risk individuals, the 7% of high-risk individuals may still require ending up in hospitals,” he said.

“And we all have heard the benefits of vaccination, reducing the complication, the severity, ICU-type patients. So it’s really important that vaccines must be the top priority,” he added.

Tamesis said the molnupiravir only completed “the spectrum of treatment” available.

“From prevention to early treatment, to middle treatment, while the patients are already starting to become, requiring hospitalization, towards finally, the critically ill patients,” he said.

“It’s just part of a whole spectrum, but it cannot substitute for vaccination,” he added.

Merck has applied for emergency use authorization for molnupiravir in the United States. (MNS)

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