The German Pharmaceutical Merck has announced this Friday that it will request the US health authorities authorization of its experimental pill that halved the risk of hospitalization or death in patients infected with COVID-19 who participated in the company’s clinical trial.
Merck and the biotech company Ridgeback Biotherapeutics, the makers of the drug molnupiravir, conducted a study involving 775 patients with a mild to moderate contagion, but with a greater probability of a poor evolution of the disease due to health problems, such as obesity, diabetes or cardiovascular diseases, of which some received molnupiravir and others, placebo.
Among the patients taking molnupiravir, 7.3% were hospitalized or died within 30 days compared with 14.1% of those taking placebo. After that period, no deaths were recorded among the group that received the molnupiravir pill, while there were eight deaths among those who took placebo.
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“Given that the virus continues to circulate widely, and that currently available therapeutic options are administered by injection and require assistance to a healthcare facility, they are urgently needed antiviral treatments that can be taken at home to keep people infected with COVID-19 out of the hospital, “said Ridgeback Biotherapeutics CEO Wendy Holman.
According to the statement, the United States Government has already bought 1.7 million doses of the drug, which could be the first antiviral against the coronavirus for oral use, for 1,200 million dollars. In addition, Merck, which plans to manufacture 10 million pills before the end of the year, has signed supply and purchase agreements for molnupiravir with other governments around the world, pending regulatory authorization.