Oral Antivirals

How do antiviral drugs work?

Oral antiviral treatment works by targeting specific proteins on the SARS-CoV-2 virus to prevent efficient virus replication within the host cell.

How well do antivirals work?

The authorized oral antiviral therapies have been shown to reduce the risk of hospitalization and death by 88% with Paxlovid and 30% with molnupiravir in patients at high-risk for severe COVID-19, if started within 5 days of symptom onset.

Who is eligible to receive oral antiviral drugs? 

  • Age 12 years and older for Paxlovid, or 18 years and older for Molnupiravir

  • Weigh at least 40 kg (88 pounds)

  • Test positive for SARS-CoV-2 on a nucleic acid amplification test or antigen test

  • Have mild to moderate COVID-19 symptoms; patient cannot be hospitalized or receiving oxygen therapy due to COVID-19

  • Are able to start treatment within 5 days of symptom onset

  • Have a medical condition or other factors that increase their risk for severe COVID-19 illness.

Do the drugs have any side effects?

The most common side effects reported during treatment and within 14 days after the last dose of molnupiravir were mild or moderate diarrhea, nausea, dizziness, and headache. For Paxlovid, mild or moderate dysgeusia, diarrhea, hypertension, and myalgia were reported.

Key Things To Know:

1. mRNA vaccines are a new type of vaccine to protect against infectious diseases.

2. mRNA vaccines teach our cells how to make a protein—or even just a piece of a protein—that triggers an immune response inside our bodies.

3. The benefit of mRNA vaccines, like all vaccines, is those vaccinated gain protection without ever having to risk the serious consequences of getting sick with COVID-19.