The pharmaceutical company Merck, Sharp & Dome (MSD) announced this Monday that it has applied to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) an emergency use authorization for your experimental antiviral treatment for Covid-19, molnupiravir. According to company data based on a Phase III trial that was interrupted due to the high success rate, the drug reduces the risk of hospitalization and death by almost half, according to the data of a clinical trial that is being carried out.
The company, which in the United States is simply called Merck but has nothing to do with the German pharmaceutical company of the same name, since has sold 1.7 million doses to the US. Australia and some Asian countries such as Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore and South Korea have also purchased hundreds of thousands of treatments without waiting for the opinion of the health authorities.
According to MSD data, molnupiravir is likely effective against known variants of the coronavirus, including the dominant and highly transmissible Delta. If so, we would be facing the first effective antiviral pill against Covid-19.
Since molnupiravir does not target the spike protein of the virus – the target of all current Covid-19 vaccines – which defines the differences between the variants, the drug should be just as effective as the virus continues to evolveaccording to Jay Grobler, MSD’s chief of infectious diseases and vaccines.
Instead, molnupiravir targets viral polymerase, an enzyme necessary for the virus to make copies of itself. It is designed to work by introducing errors into the genetic code of the virus. The data shows that the drug is most effective when given in the early stages of infection, according to MSD.
The US drugmaker tested its antiviral with nasal swab samples taken from participants in the drug’s early trials. Delta was not in wide circulation at the time of those trials, but molnupiravir was tested against laboratory samples of the variant that is behind the latest increase in hospitalizations and deaths from COVID-19.
MSD is conducting two phase trials III of the antiviral you are developing with Ridgeback Biotherapeutics: one for the treatment of COVID-19 and another as preventive. The company expects the first study to be completed in early November, according to Grobler. “The data could come sooner or laterThe research was presented during IDWeek, the annual meeting of infectious disease organizations, including the Infectious Diseases Society of America.