Experimental pill seen as huge advance in preventing COVID-19 deaths and hospitalisations

Experimental pill seen as huge advance in preventing COVID-19 deaths and hospitalisations

Experimental pill seen as huge advance in preventing COVID-19 deaths and hospitalisations. image: Merck Media

A new experimental pill is being hailed as a huge advance in preventing COVID-19 deaths and hospitalisations.

A new experimental antiviral pill that has been developed by pharmaceutical giant Merck & Co could halve the chances of dying or being hospitalised for those most at risk of contracting severe COVID-19, according to data that experts hailed as a potential breakthrough in how the virus is treated.

The pill was so successful in reducing the most severe outcomes of the illness, that clinical trials of the medication were stopped early so more people might benefit, announced drugmaker Merck & Co. on Friday, October 1.

If it gets authorisation, the pill, molnupiravir, which is designed to introduce errors into the genetic code of the virus, would be the first-ever oral antiviral medication for COVID-19.

Merck and partner Ridgeback Biotherapeutics said they plan to seek U.S. emergency use authorisation for the pill as soon as possible and to make regulatory applications worldwide.

“An oral antiviral that can impact hospitalization risk to such a degree would be game-changing,” said Amesh Adalja, senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security.

Current treatment options include Gilead Sciences Inc’s infused antiviral Remdesivir (administered to ex-US President Donal Trump) and generic steroid dexamethasone, both of which are generally only given once a patient has already been hospitalized.

Merck Chief Executive Robert Davis said: “This is going to change the dialogue around how to manage COVID-19.”

Read more:

Covid breakthrough with painless vaccine patch

Covid caused the biggest decrease in life expectancy since World War II

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Ron Howells

Ron actually started his working career as an Ophthalmic Technician- things changed when, during a band rehearsal, his amplifier blew up and he couldn’t get it fixed so he took a course at Birmingham University and ended up doing a degree course. He built up a chain of electronics stores and sold them as a franchise over 35 years ago. After five years touring the world Ron decided to move to Spain with his wife and son, a place they had visited over the years, and only bought the villa they live in because it has a guitar-shaped swimming pool!. Playing the guitar since the age of 7, he can often be seen, (and heard!) at beach bars and clubs along the length of the coast. He has always been interested in the news and constantly thrives to present his articles in an interesting and engaging way.