Pharmaceutical company Merck has requested FDA approval for a pill against the Covid-19 disease. If the drug molnupiravir is approved, it will be the first drug against Covid-19.
Merck’s pill prevents people who are sick from the coronavirus from developing serious symptoms. Instead, people with mild complaints are given the medicine so that the complaints do not get worse. It can also prevent many deaths, says the pharmaceutical company.
Merck, which operates in Europe under the name MSD, says it is currently in talks with drug authorities around the world to get molnupiravir urgently approved in the coming months. According to the pharmaceutical company, “unprecedented haste” is required, given the pandemic. “That’s why we applied within ten days of receiving our research data,” said director Robert Davis.
The medicine can be taken at home shortly after the infection has been diagnosed. According to the director of Ridgeback, which made the drug together with Merck, this is an important step in making the drug available to people.
Merck has tested the drug on 775 people. They had tested positive for the coronavirus, had mild complaints, and belonged to a risk group due to being overweight or age. The subjects took a pill every 12 hours for five days. Half were given molnupiravir, the other half a placebo, a dummy drug to compare the results. Of the people who received molnupiravir, about 7 percent ended up in the hospital, while 14 percent in the control group had to be hospitalized. Although in that control group, eight people died from a corona infection, none of the recipients of the pill died.
Enough doses could be produced to treat 10 million people by 2021. The United States has already ordered 1.7 million doses from Merck.
Merck makes the price of the pill depend on prosperity per country. So the pharmaceutical company is in talks with Indian factories to have the drug made there, too, so that poorer countries can also be quickly supplied with molnupiravir.