The oral drug is intended to prevent the transmission of SARS-CoV-2 – a medical practice

Molnupiravir is said to completely block SARS-CoV-2 infection

Numerous positive reports of new coronary vaccines have emerged in the last few days and should be available soon. The US research team now reports another success in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic: The team appears to have developed an antiviral drug that completely prevents the transmission of coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 within 24 hours.

Researchers at Georgia State University in Atlanta, USA, report a major breakthrough in coronavirus drug research. Oral drug MK-4482 / EIDD-2801, also called molnupiravir, is expected to completely block SARS-CoV-2 transmission within 24 days. The results of the study were presented in the renowned journal “Nature Microbiology”.

Originally developed against influenza viruses

A working group led by Professor Dr. Richard Plemper actually wanted to develop an antiviral flu against seasonal flu. Due to the severity of the global coronavirus pandemic, the team changed the target to an active ingredient that targets the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 – successfully!

A real “game changer”

“This is the first evidence of an orally available drug that rapidly blocks SARS-CoV-2 transmission,” Plemper said. Molnupiravir may change the course of a pandemic, the professor proudly says. Interruption of local SARS-CoV-2 transmissions is of the utmost importance for the resolution of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Three benefits of molnupiravir

According to the research team, this drug has a threefold benefit. On the one hand, the active substance could inhibit the progression of serious diseases. On the other hand, shorten the phase of infection and thus quarantine times. In addition, molnupiravir can be used to disrupt chains of infection in local outbreaks.

Broad-spectrum activity against respiratory RNA viruses

“We soon discovered that MK-4482 / EIDD-2801 has broad-spectrum activity against respiratory RNA viruses, and that drug treatment of infected animals reduces the amount of viral particles excreted by several orders of magnitude, dramatically reducing transmission,” explains the research leader. Due to these properties, molnupiravir is a strong candidate for pharmacological control of COVID-19.

Ferrets simulate the spread of young adults

The drug was successfully tested on ferrets. “We believe that ferrets are a relevant transmission model because they easily spread SARS-CoV-2, but most do not develop any serious disease,” adds Dr. Robert Cox from the research team. This is similar to the spread of SARS-CoV-2 in young adults.

Unequivocal success

The researchers placed infected ferrets with uninfected animals in the same cage. Uninfected animals received the active ingredient MK-4482 / EIDD-2801 in advance. “None of the contacts were infected,” emphasizes Josef Wolf, a doctoral student in the working group. In contrast, all animals in the placebo group were infected.

Tests on humans are still pending

If molnupiravir works in humans in the same way as ferrets, people with COVID-19 will no longer be infectious within 24 hours of ingestion. This now needs to be tested in a phase II / III clinical trial.

No information on side effects and duration of action

Side effects, duration of action and duration of treatment are particularly interesting when taking drugs. Because the drug has only been tested in animals such as ferrets and mice, there is no reliable information on this. (vb)

Author and resource information

This text complies with the requirements of the medical literature, medical instructions and current studies and has been reviewed by healthcare professionals.


Diploma Editor (FH) Volker Blasek


  • Cox, RM, Wolf, JD & Plemper, RK Therapeutically administered ribonucleoside analog MK-4482 / EIDD-2801 blocks SARS-CoV-2 transmission in ferrets. Nat Microbiol (2020).,
  • Georgia State University: Oral Drug Blocks SARS-CoV-2 Transmission, Georgia State Biomedical Sciences Researchers Find (published: 03.12.2020),

Important note:
This article is for general guidance only and should not be used for self-diagnosis or self-medication. It cannot replace a visit to the doctor.

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