The first at-home pill to treat coronavirus has been approved in the UK - but will people take it?

The Molnupiravir pill is for people who have had a positive Covid test and have at least one risk factor for developing severe illness, such as obesity, being over the age of 60, diabetes or heart disease.

The UK’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) said the drug is safe and effective at reducing the risk of hospital admission and death in people with mild to moderate Covid who are at extra risk from the virus.

The drug, from Ridgeback Biotherapeutics and Merck Sharp & Dohme (MSD), works by interfering with the virus’s replication.

It prevents the virus from multiplying, keeping levels low in the body and therefore reducing the severity of the disease.

The MHRA said the drug should be taken as soon as possible following a positive Covid-19 test and within the first five days.

We asked News Shopper readers what they thought of the newly approved anti-viral pill - and whether or not they would be happy to take it.

Here's what some of them said:

Lj Fowler said: "Will anyone tell us what is in them?

"Will we be able to sue the manufacturer if it goes wrong?"

Anthony Coles said: "We take all sorts of pills every day, and I’m pretty sure we don’t know what’s in them.

"I’ve had Covid-19 and now had both jabs and the flu jab as recommended by my doctor.

"So if it keeps me alive it’s a yes from me."

Louise Preston said: "If I was ill and it was going to potentially save my life….. errr Yep."

Nat West said: "Yes if it works, no serious side effects and it's going to help save my life.

"I've already had both vaccines plus the booster jab and flu jab (without any side effects) and non of them cost me a penny.

"We're lucky over here in the UK with the NHS."

Gary Bragg said: "Obviously..if it works without side effects."

Trevor John Rogers said: "Yes if it works."

Paige Williams said: "I've had 3 jabs and told I’m gonna have a 4th do I really need a pill as well?"

Trevor Ford said: "I’d take anything so I don’t get it.

"Lost two long time friends because their adult children refused the vaccination."

Kelly Cobbing said: "Nope, not being a Guinea-pig for the country ever again, seeing as the vaccine trial reports aren't due til 2023."

There was also a mix of a straight "yes" or "no" answers from News Shopper readers on Facebook.

The Government announced last month that it had secured 480,000 courses of molnupiravir after a study found it cut the rate of hospital admission and death by 50% in mild-to-moderately ill patients who had at least one risk factor for the disease.

In the study, the tablet was given twice a day to patients recently diagnosed with coronavirus.

Health and Social Care Secretary, Sajid Javid, said: “Today is a historic day for our country, as the UK is now the first country in the world to approve an anti-viral that can be taken at home for Covid-19.

“This will be a gamechanger for the most vulnerable and the immunosuppressed, who will soon be able to receive the ground-breaking treatment.

“We are working at pace across the Government and with the NHS to set out plans to deploy molnupiravir to patients through a national study as soon as possible

“This antiviral will be an excellent addition to our armoury against Covid-19, and it remains vital everyone comes forward for their life-saving Covid-19 vaccine – particularly those eligible for a booster – to ensure as many people as possible are protected over the coming months.”

Dr June Raine, MHRA chief executive, said: “Following a rigorous review of the data by our expert scientists and clinicians, we are satisfied that Lagevrio (molnupiravir) is safe and effective for those at risk of developing severe Covid-19 disease and have granted its approval.

“Lagevrio is another therapeutic to add to our armoury against Covid-19.

“It is also the world’s first approved anti-viral for this disease that can be taken by mouth rather than administered intravenously.

“This is important, because it means it can be administered outside of a hospital setting, before Covid-19 has progressed to a severe stage.

“With no compromises on quality, safety and effectiveness, the public can trust that the MHRA has conducted a robust and thorough assessment of the data.”

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