Molnupiravir: drug should prevent the worst corona consequences

science Corona

New US drug aims to cut the risk of hospitalization and death in half

Photo published by the US pharmaceutical giant Merck & Co of what it claims to be a promising Covid drug

Photo published by the US pharmaceutical giant Merck & Co of what it claims to be a promising Covid drug

Source: via REUTERS

For a long time, the problem with Covid-19 was that there were neither vaccinations nor medication. After injections, there may now also be tablets – a pharmaceutical giant claims that “molnupiravir” prevents the worst consequences of an infection. Experts urge restraint.

Et may be an important step in the fight against the corona pandemic: Following positive study results, the US pharmaceutical giant Merck & Co. wants to apply for emergency approval for its corona drug molnupiravir in the USA. Merck and its partner Ridgeback Biotherapeutics said on Friday that the antiviral drug halved the risk of hospitalization or fatal disease in infected patients.

According to this, 7.3 percent of the 385 patients with mild or moderate Covid-19 symptoms who received the drug were hospitalized during a phase 3 clinical study. There was no death. In the test group of 377 patients who received a placebo, 14.1 percent of the cases were hospitalized or fatal. Specifically, eight patients died.

Merck & Co. now wants to apply for emergency approval in the USA for the pills “as soon as possible”. Applications should also be submitted to health authorities in other countries.

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“We are optimistic that molnupiravir can become an important drug as part of the global effort to fight the pandemic,” said Merck CEO Robert Davis. Ridgeback Biotherapeutics boss Wendy Holman said antiviral drugs that could be used at home and not have to be administered in the hospital are “urgently needed”.

“No substitute for vaccinations”

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A number of pharmaceutical companies are working on antiviral drugs against the lung disease Covid-19 caused by the coronavirus. Such drugs are designed to prevent viruses from entering body cells or multiplying there. Molnupiravir would be the first pill-form antiviral drug to receive approval. The antiviral drug Remdesivir is given intravenously.

Experts reacted positively to the Merck study results, but at the same time urged restraint. “A safe, affordable, and effective oral antiviral drug would be a huge step forward in the fight against Covid,” wrote Oxford University infectiologist Peter Horby im Kurzbotschaftendienst Twitter. He warned, however, that care must be taken to ensure that the coronavirus does not develop resistance to the drug.

The US medical professor Peter Hotez warned that such a drug was “no substitute for vaccinations”. “It’s not a miracle cure, but an accompanying tool.” Hotez also warned of possible resistances.