By Ron Howells • 11 October 2021 • 23:12
Merck seeks approval for breakthrough pill to treat covid
Merck & Co pharmaceutical is seeking approval for a breakthrough pill it has developed to treat covid.
Merck & Co have developed an experimental antiviral pill that could halve the chances of dying or being hospitalised for those most at risk of contracting severe COVID-19, according to experts the pill is a potential breakthrough in how the virus is treated.
If it gets authorisation, the pill, Molnupiravir, which is designed to introduce errors into the genetic code of the virus, would be the first oral antiviral medication ever available for COVID-19.
Merck and partner Ridgeback Biotherapeutics have 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 hospitalisation 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 and generic steroid Dexamethasone, both of which are generally only given once a patient has already been hospitalized.
“This is going to change the dialogue around how to manage COVID-19, existing treatments are “cumbersome and logistically challenging to administer. A simple oral pill would be the opposite of that,” ” Merck Chief Executive Robert Davis told reporters.
The results from the Phase III trial, which sent Merck shares up more than 9%, were so strong that the study is being stopped early at the recommendation of outside monitors.
Jefferies financial analyst, Michael Yee, said investors believe “people will be less afraid of COVID and less inclined to get vaccines if there is a simple pill that can treat COVID.”
Pfizer and Swiss drugmaker Roche Holding AG are also in the race to develop an easy-to-administer antiviral pill for COVID-19. For now, only antibody cocktails that have to be given intravenously are approved for non-hospitalized patients.
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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.
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