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Merck aims to double production of its antiviral pill to treat COVID-19 by 2022 financial Times informed of On Tuesday, when countries around the world are scrambling to secure scarce supplies even before they are approved for use by regulators.

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Merck said it plans to double its production of mollupiravir from 10 million treatment courses in 2021 to at least 20 million in 2022 to meet growing demand for the drug. foot.

The company has also struck deals with eight generic drug makers to produce cheaper versions of the antiviral to boost access in poorer countries.

Merck, along with Ridgeback Biotherapeutics, asked the US Food and Drug Administration to grant emergency approval for the treatment after clinical trials found it halved the risk of hospitalization or death from COVID-19 in high-risk groups. gives.

If approved, Molnupiravir would be the first antiviral pill to treat COVID-19 on the market and the only option for treating patients outside of a hospital setting.

Although it has not yet been approved for use, wealthy countries, including the US, Australiahandjob New Zealandhandjob South Korea And Singapore Struggled to secure supplies, sparking apprehension About the same disparities seen in the global rush for vaccines.

Merck did not immediately respond Businesshala’ Request for comment out of hours.

main background

While vaccines, along with other preventive measures such as masks and social distancing, are effective in preventing disease and infection with COVID-19, drugs such as steroids can target the body’s response to the virus and save the lives of people with severe illness. Yes, there are some treatment options for this. Those who have contracted the disease but are not seriously ill. Those that do exist, especially monoclonal antibodies, are in such short supply that they are being rationed in most states and usually must be administered intravenously in a hospital setting. Antivirals like mollupiravir (and others in development) bridge this gap and could be a gamechanger, helping to keep people out of hospital and progressing to serious illness.

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There are several other oral antivirals in late-stage development for use against COVID-19. Pfizer is conducting a trial to treat or prevent COVID-19, as is Swiss pharma giant Roche with Boston-based Atia Pharmaceuticals. All companies expect test results later this year, which, if promising, could form the basis for emergency use applications.

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AstraZeneca on Monday announced promising results from an injectable antibody therapy. The company said that it is effective in preventing severe illness or death in people with mild or moderate Kovid-19 infection. It can also be delivered outside of a hospital setting.

big number

1.7 million. There are so many five-day treatment courses of mollupiravir in the US Agreed To buy if the drug is approved by the FDA. Scott Gottlieb, former FDA commissioner and Pfizer board member said This is “not enough”, pointing to the 50-80 million medical courses accumulated in preparation for the flu pandemic.

Hurry to buy Merck’s covid pill risks leaving poor countries behind (Businesshala)

Merck aims to double supply of COVID-19 antiviral pill on rising demand (financial Times)

Timing is Everything for Merck’s COVID Pill (the Atlantic)

Merck seeks US emergency approval for antiviral COVID pill (Businesshala)

When will we have a pill to treat covid? Here are the three antiviral drugs being tested (Businesshala)

Merck says its antiviral pill reduces risk of Covid hospitalizations, deaths in half (Businesshala)

How the Antiviral Pill Molnupiravir Advances in the COVID Drug Hunt (Nature)