Press release from Mercy Urgent Care:
Mercy Urgent Care is pleased to announce its West Asheville facility now offers Merck’s oral antiviral treatment, Molnupiravir, for the treatment of mild-to-moderate COVID-19 in adults age 18 and up who tested positive for the virus. The five-day treatment course will be available for high-risk patients within five days of symptom onset.
Per the state of North Carolina, due to high demand and limited availability, Molnupiravir can currently only be prescribed to those who fall into the first two risk group tiers as outlined by the National Institutes of Health. Those tiers include immunocompromised individuals not expected to mount an adequate immune response to COVID-19 vaccination or infection due to their underlying conditions, regardless of vaccine status, or unvaccinated individuals at the highest risk of severe disease (anyone 75 years or age and older, or anyone 65 years of age or younger with additional risk factors); OR unvaccinated individuals at risk of severe disease not included in Tier 1 (anyone 65 years of age and older, or anyone less than 65 years of age with clinical risk factors).
High risk is defined as those with one or more of the following conditions or characteristics: Individuals age 65 or older; those with a body mass index of 35 or over; adults 18 and older diagnosed with a chronic kidney disease, diabetes or an immunosuppressive disease; those currently receiving immunosuppressive treatment; and individuals age 55 or older who have been diagnosed with one or more of the following: a cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, and/or COPD, emphysema and other lung diseases.
People are considered to be moderately or severely immunocompromised if they have: been receiving active cancer treatment for tumors or cancers of the blood; received an organ transplant and are taking medicine to suppress the immune system; received a stem cell transplant within the last two years or are taking medicine to suppress the immune system; moderate or severe primary immunodeficiency (such as DiGeorge syndrome or Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome); advanced or untreated HIV infection; and/or active treatment with high-dose corticosteroids or other drugs that may suppress the body’s immune response.
Mercy Urgent Care is one of few providers in Western North Carolina that are currently offering Molnupiravir and other oral antiviral therapeutics. Patients may request or receive a referral for the treatment, to be administered at Mercy Urgent Care West Asheville, from their regular health care providers. Provider visit, proof of a positive clinical COVID test, and a negative pregnancy test for patients of childbearing potential (ages 18-50) will be required. Patients will be brought into the clinic through a separate entrance and kept in an area away from the rest of the clinic’s urgent care services. Molnupiravir is available to patients at no cost, but patients will be responsible for provider visit and required tests and should check with their insurance prior to treatment for coverage information.
The FDA has made oral antiviral therapeutics available under an emergency access mechanism called an emergency use authorization (EUA). The EUA is supported by a Secretary of Health and Human Services declaration that circumstances exist to justify the emergency use of drugs and biological products during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Treatment will take place during normal business hours at Mercy Urgent Care West Asheville, 1201 Patton Ave., on an as-needed basis. More information about Molnupiravir, as well as the treatment request form for providers, can be found here.
Mercy Urgent Care has served more than 1.5 million patients in Western North Carolina. Donations to not-for-profit Mercy Urgent Care’s Catherine McAuley Mercy Foundation enable care throughout WNC in Brevard, Burnsville, Columbus, Waynesville, Weaverville and three Asheville locations— providing more than a half-million dollars in charity care locally as well as sending medical teams and supplies internationally. More information about the organization and all locations can be found at www.mercyurgentcare.org.