Source: New York Times
The drug maker will seek authorization for molnupiravir, the first drug of its kind for Covid. Experts said such pills could be a powerful tool against the virus.
The drug maker Merck said on Friday that its pill to treat Covid-19 was shown in a key clinical trial to halve the risk of hospitalization or death when given to high-risk people early in their infections.
The strong results suggest that a new wave of effective and easy-to-use treatments for Covid will gradually become available in the United States, though supply is likely to be limited at first. Merck said it would seek emergency authorization from the Food and Drug Administration for its drug, known as molnupiravir, as soon as possible. The pills could be available by late this year.
Merck’s drug would be the first pill to treat Covid-19; it is likely to be followed by a number of other antiviral pills that other companies are racing to bring to market. They have the potential to reach more people than the antibody treatments that are being widely used in the United States for high-risk patients.
“I think it will translate into many thousands of lives being saved worldwide, where there’s less access to monoclonal antibodies, and in this country, too,” said Dr. Robert Shafer, an infectious disease specialist at Stanford University.