Molnupiravir is an experimental antiviral drug. It was developed to treat Influenza. It was developed by Emory University.
In 2021, the clinical trials of Molnupiravir showed that it reduced the risk of hospitalisation and death from COVID-19. Also, the drug worked well with COVID-19 variants such as delta, mu and gamma. It is the first oral drug to treat COVID-19.
The name of the drug was inspired by Thor’s hammer Mjolnir. The intention is to deliver the idea that the drug is capable to strike down virus.
The Molnupiravir is a prodrug of synthetic nucleoside. Prodrug is a compound that is converted into a pharmacologically active drug after administration. In simple words, the prodrugs are used to improve how the drugs are absorbed in the body.
Error Catastrophe or Lethal mutagenesis
The method by which the Molnupiravir kills the virus is called Lethal mutagenesis or Error Catastrophe. The Molnupiravir is capable of swapping between two forms namely Cytidine (C) and Uridine (U). When the viral RNA tries to copy RNA containing Molnupiravir, it interprets as C or U. This leads to massive mutations in the virus. As these mutations exceeds the threshold of virus survival, they all die! This effect is called Lethal mutagenesis or error catastrophe.