Molnupiravir, a drug manufactured by Merck, has been seen to cut hospitalisations in Covid cases by 50%. So now the pharma company are seeking approval to roll out manufacturing. One exciting statistic being that no deaths were recorded in those who received the drug compared to eight deaths in the placebo group.
The US has now amassed almost two million doses of Molnupiravir should the FDA sanction it. In addition, they have an exclusive deal to buy more of the drug. In terms of global sourcing, Unitaid announced it was also working within a partnership to ensure low- and middle-income countries are not left without supply either. However, experts caution that it is not a miracle cure and should merely complement effective vaccination; it cannot replace vaccine efficacy.
Merck and its partner Ridgeback Therapeutics took data from 770 patients who took a five-day course of the pill. They compared this to a placebo group of 730. The Molnupiravir recipient group had 7.3% hospitalised by day 29. This contrasted to 14.1% on placebo—a relative risk reduction of around 50%. Importantly, Molnupiravir’s efficacy held up against the variants of concern which sparked an independent data monitoring committee and the FDA to halt the trial early. Why? They see no point in the placebo trial, signifying that they are pleased with results seen to date. Merck now says it plans to apply for an Emergency Use Authorisation to the FDA immediately. We await the next stage in this fight against Covid.