MANILA, Jan 11 (Mabuhay) — Another clinical trial on the effectiveness of Merck’s anti-COVID-19 pill Molnupiravir is moving into the third phase, and a hospital in Quezon City is looking for more volunteers for the study.

“So this is actually the second study that we’re doing,” said Dr. Joel Santiaguel of the Quirino Memorial Medical Center (QMMC).

“The previous one was the one for mild to moderate infections so yung infected yung binibigyan natin. But this time around, we’re testing or we’re studying the drug for its effectiveness in preventing infection in those who are exposed.”

“So this is post-exposure prophylaxis. So, meron kang kasama sa bahay na infected, and then you would give the drug for those who are exposed but are not yet infected or not yet positive,” he explained.

Santiaguel said participants in the study must be 18 years old or older and must be unvaccinated. Those with comorbidities are also welcome to participate in the trial, he added.

The doctor said that he is optimistic about the impact of molnupiravir on COVID-19 patients.

“So far, I’ve been using it for a lot of my patients who have mild to moderate COVID-19 disease that the past one or two weeks and, so far, very good yung kanilang response ano, I have not had any patient who worsened or progressed and again, no safety issues.”

He also said that he believes that molnupiravir can help those who have been infected with COVID-19 omicron variant.

“Now, in terms of its effect on the omicron variant, because this is not like a vaccine where you need to have an effect on the receptor, the ACE2 receptor. So this one it works inside. So naka-pasok na yung virus and it acts on the virus inside the cell. So hindi tulad ng vaccine na pag nag-change yung receptor, hindi na magiging effective yung vaccine.”

“So this should work against the different variants,” he explained.

The Philippine Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a compassionate special permit for the use of molnupiravir to several hospitals.

It is also available to patients of the telemedicine program of Vice President Leni Robredo’s office.

Manila Mayor and presidential aspirant Francisco “Isko” Moreno Domagoso has also said that his office will “continue to share” experimental drugs like molnupiravir to help the country in its fight against COVID-19.(MNS)

READ NEXT: NCR COVID-19 positivity rate up to 52% —OCTA