Iranian Journal of Medical Sciences

Document Type : Review Article


1 Ningbo Institute of Innovation for Combined Medicine and Engineering, Ningbo Medical Center Lihuili Hospital, Ningbo University, No. 378 Dongqing Road, Yinzhou District, Ningbo

2 Department of Cardiology, Shantou University Medical College, Shantou University, Shantou, 515000, China

3 Department of Gastroenterology, Ningbo Medical Center Lihuili Hospital, Ningbo University, Ningbo, Zhejiang, China

4 School of Medicine, Ningbo University, Ningbo, 315211, Zhejiang, China



Background: The RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRp) inhibitors, molnupiravir and VV116, have the potential to maximize clinical benefits in the oral treatment of COVID-19. Subjects who consume these drugs may experience an increased incidence of adverse events. This study aimed to evaluate the safety profile of molnupiravir and VV116.
Methods: A comprehensive search of scientific and medical databases, such as PubMed Central/Medline, Embase, Web of Science, and Cochrane Library, was conducted to find relevant articles in English from January 2020 to June 2023. Any kind of adverse events reported in the study were pooled and analyzed in the drug group versus the control group. Estimates of risk effects were summarized through the random effects model using Review Manager version 5.2, and sensitivity analysis was performed by Stata 17.0 software.
Results: Fifteen studies involving 32,796 subjects were included. Eleven studies were placebo-controlled, and four were Paxlovid-controlled. Twelve studies reported adverse events for molnupiravir, and three studies described adverse events for VV116. The total odds ratio (OR) for adverse events in the RdRp inhibitor versus the placebo-controlled group was 1.01 (95% CI=0.84-1.22; I2=26%), P=0.88. The total OR for adverse events in the RdRp inhibitor versus the Paxlovid-controlled group was 0.32 (95% CI=0.16-0.65; I2=87%), P=0.002. Individual drug subgroup analysis in the placebo-controlled study showed that compared with the placebo group, a total OR for adverse events was 0.97 (95% CI, 0.85-1.10; I2=0%) in the molnupiravir group and 3.77 (95% CI=0.08-175.77; I2=85%) in the VV116 group.
Conclusion: The RdRp inhibitors molnupiravir and VV116 are safe for oral treatment of COVID-19. Further evidence is necessary that RdRp inhibitors have a higher safety profile than Paxlovid.


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