Merck announced on Friday that it would seek emergency use authorization from US regulators for its experimental pill to treat COVID-19, surpassing its competition as scientists seek to thwart the pandemic and ease the burden on overwhelmed hospitals. In the race to develop new tools for
Merck said the antiviral drug mollupiravir, being developed with Miami-based Ridgeback Biotherapeutics, could halve the risk of hospitalization or death when given to recently diagnosed patients at risk of serious illness. According For interim results from a late-stage clinical trial.
If approved, Molnupiravir will be the first antiviral pill for COVID-19 on the market and become a valuable tool in the fight against the virus.
Rivals aren’t far behind either, with Pfizer, Roche and Aetia Pharmaceuticals all expecting results from late-stage clinical trials this year.
Pfizer is testing whether its pill—PF-07321332—can prevent infection in people exposed to the virus or Benefit Patients who have not been hospitalized with COVID-19.
An effective antiviral treatment that can be taken at home could be a pandemic gamechanger, saving lives and relieving pressure on overburdened hospitals. Although there are many safe and effective vaccines to prevent COVID-19, there are few options for actually treating someone who has it. Most treatments available target the body’s response to the virus, not the virus itself, and are recommended only for hospitalized patients. For non-hospitalized patients, the only recommended treatments are expensive monoclonal antibody treatments made by the likes of Eli Lilly and Regeneron. In addition to cost, the treatments are somehow administered intravenously in a hospital setting and are in short supply that they are being rationed for those who need them most. An oral therapy—Merck is a tablet twice daily for five days—can help eliminate many barriers to treatment. The tablets are relatively inexpensive, especially compared to biologics such as monoclonal antibodies, and are easy to mass-produce and distribute.
Pfizer and Merck’s announcements this week sparked a flurry of conspiratorial misinformation linking the oral antiviral with ivermectin, an antiparasitic drug that has been falsely touted as a COVID-19 treatment. word “pfizermectinTrended on social media after Pfizer announced that it was testing antivirals, many users baselessly alleged that the drug contained ivermectin. Farce. There is no evidence that ivermectin is effective in treating or preventing COVID-19, and some studies supporting its use have found evidence of data manipulation or major methodological defects. The conspiracies continued on Friday after Merck’s announcement accusing the firm of burying ivermectin (which it developed and no longer has patent protection) to profit from mollupiravir unfounded.
what to see
Pfizer, Roche and Atea are all expecting test results later this year. If promising, they can use these to apply for emergency use authorization in the US
Merck says its antiviral pill reduces risk of Covid hospitalizations, deaths in half (Businesshala)
Antiviral pill: How close are we to a drug to treat COVID? (financial Times)
Pfizer test pill that could prevent covid infection (Businesshala)
Moderna Crash Erases $22 Billion Value After Merck’s Covid Pill Triggers Vaccine Stock Plunge (Businesshala)