Although treatments for COVID-19 are not a substitute for vaccinations, they are part of the arsenal in the fight against the virus.



 COVID-19 vaccinations have been developed at a remarkably rapid rate. What tends to receive less attention, though, is the concurrent search for effective COVID-19 treatments. There are currently two COVID-19 treatments provisionally approved by Australia’s Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA)—Remdesivir and Sotrovimab. In addition, two further treatments, Molnupiravir and Pfizer’s PF-07321332, were recently granted provisional determination, meaning both are eligible to apply for provisional approval. So, how do these treatments work, and when are they used?

  • Remdesivir was the first COVID treatment approved in Australia. It was initially developed to treat Ebola. Remdesivir is administered intravenously and is only available to COVID-19 patients who are severely unwell. Its effectiveness is considered ‘moderate’.

  • Sotrovimab was the second treatment approved by the TGA. It’s administered intravenously as a single dose and has been shown to reduce hospitalisation or death by 79 per cent in adults with mild to moderate COVID-19.

  • Molnupiravir is expected to be provisionally approved in early 2022. Interim results show it reduces the risk of hospitalisation or death by approximately 50 per cent in patients with mild-to-moderate COVID-19. This oral medication can be taken at home.

  • Pfizer’s PF-07321332 is also taken orally. It is the type of drug used to treat HIV and hepatitis C. There is limited data on this drug so far.

There is still a lack of clear evidence on the best treatments for COVID-19. Therefore, vaccination continues to be our best form of defence against the disease.