Merck’s ‘COVID Pill’ Shows Promise, But Mortality Benefits Will Be Hard To Prove
Accurate Viral Test Shows Drug’s Promise
Early results from its novel antiviral are encouraging, but demonstrating life-saving qualities in a short window of time will be tricky.
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Merck/Ridgeback’s ribonucleoside analog shows nearly 50% reduction of risk for hospitalization or death in Phase III study. Firms will seek EUA in US; a contract is in place for 1.7 million courses of therapy.
Natco seeks emergency approval in India for investigational therapy molnupiravir, currently being developed by Merck & Co for the treatment of non-hospitalized COVID-19 patients. The firm has linked its request to compassionate use amid a ferocious surge in COVID-19 cases in India, posing a potentially delicate choice for the regulator.
After backing off of MRK-7110 for hospitalized patients the company’s focus is on the oral antiviral molnupiravir for outpatients – which would be a huge win, but the drug has yet to fully prove itself in the clinic.