An antiviral medication for individuals with moderate symptoms may be obtained for as low as $10 per course under a WHO-led initiative to guarantee poorer nations have equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines, diagnostic tests, and treatments, according to a draught document seen by Reuters.

The experimental tablet molnupiravir, produced by Merck & Co., is expected to be one of the medicines, and additional treatments to treat mild sufferers are now being developed as well.

A WHO-Led Program That Aims To Purchase Antiviral COVID-19 Tablets

On the basis of an estimate of 200 million new cases in the next 12 months, the Connectivity to COVID-19 Toolkit Accelerator (ACT-A) hopes to deliver approximately 1 billion COVID-19 test results to poorer countries as well as procure drugs to cure up to 120 million patients worldwide by September of next year, according to the file, which outlines the program’s goals until September of next year.

The plans demonstrate how the WHO wants to increase the availability of drugs and tests at a low cost after losing the vaccine competition to wealthy countries, which scooped up a large share of the world’s goods, leaving the world’s poorer nations with few options for vaccination.

A WHO-Led Program That Aims To Purchase Antiviral COVID-19 Tablets

ACT-A spokeswoman said the paper, which was dated October 13, was still a draught that was still under review and that the organization would not comment on its substance until it was finalized. The paper will be sent to world leaders ahead of the G20 meeting, which will take place in Rome just at the end of the month.

The ACT-A asks the G20 as well as other donors for an additional $22.8 billion in funding until September 2022, which will be required to purchase and distribute vaccines, drugs, and diagnostic tests to poorer countries, as well as to close the enormous supply gaps that exist between wealthy and less developed countries. Donors have committed a total of $18.5 billion to the initiative so far.

Detailed estimates of the costs of medicines, treatments, and diagnostics that will constitute the majority of the program’s expenditures and the price for distributing vaccinations have been used to develop the budgetary demands for the program.

However, even though molnupiravir is not explicitly mentioned, the ACT-A document anticipates paying 10 dollars a course for “new oral antivirals for gentle patients.”

Other medications for treating mild patients are being researched and developed. However, molnupiravir is the one that has shown promise in late-stage clinical studies so far.

The ACT-A is in negotiations to purchase the medication from Merck & Co. and generics manufacturers. Compared to the $700 per session that now the U.S has committed to pay for 1.7 million sessions of the therapy, the pricing is very cheap.

According to research conducted by Harvard University, molnupiravir would cost about 20 dollars if it were to be manufactured by generic drugmakers, with the price possibly dropping to $7.7 under optimal manufacturing conditions. Merck & Co. has license agreements with eight generic medication manufacturers in India.

It is stated in the ACT-A paper that the organization’s goal is to achieve an agreement by the end of November to guarantee the supply of an “oral outpatient medication,” which it hopes to have access by the first quarter of the following year.