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Manila receives 40,000 capsules of molnupiravir 

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The capital city Manila received its order of 40,000 capsules of the coronavirus disease drug molnupiravir on Tuesday, according to a report by Philippine News Agency.

During the ceremonial turnover on Tuesday, Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso handed over 120 bottles, containing 40 capsules each, to the Manila Covid-19 Field Hospital at the Quirino Grandstand.

The rest of the capsules will be stored at the Sta. Ana Hospital for use by the city’s six district hospitals.

Aside from molnupiravir, the city government previously procured remdesivir and tocilizumab, also said to cure Covid-19 symptoms.

Manila purchased molnupiravir in October for PHP87.50 per capsule. It has been issued a Compassionate Special Permit by the Food and Drug Administration.

“Please be careful with molnupiravir. Long-term use has mutagenic potential. It is currently only for high-risk populations with confirmed mild/moderate Covid infection under compassionate use and only for 5 days,” read the Facebook post of Dr. Edsel Salvaña, a member of the Department of Health’s Technical Advisory Group, on Tuesday.

Molnupiravir, developed by the US drug companies Merck, Sharp and Dohme and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics, is the first antiviral medication for Covid-19 that can be taken orally, rather than injected or given intravenously.

Patients must take the drug within five days of symptoms, according to experts.

"Itong mga gamot na ito ay hindi biro, ngunit balewala sa akin ang pera, mabuhay lang ang tao (These medicines are not easy to buy, but I don’t mind spending to save people’s lives)," Domagoso said during the turnover.

As of Tuesday, Manila has 193 active Covid-19 infections after reporting 13 new cases.

There were 30 new recoveries that raised the total to 88,303 out of more than 90,000 confirmed cases.

The Covid-19 hospital bed occupancy rate in Manila’s six district hospitals is also down to 17 percent, with 83 beds in use.

Only 40 beds are occupied at the 344-capacity Covid-19 Field Hospital, which has treated 3,300 cases and has zero fatalities since starting operations in June.

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