New Delhi | Jagran Lifestyle Desk: In another breakthrough study that can aid the COVID-19 vaccinations across the world, German Chemical Company, Merck, Friday announced that its anti-viral drug, Molnupiravir, has shown compelling results in clinical trials. The drug, the company said, can half the risk of hospitalisation or death for patients with mild or moderate symptoms of COVID-19.

Molnupiravir, co-developed with Ridgeback Biotherapeutics, is administered orally and works by inhibiting the replication of the coronavirus inside the body. The company plans to seek emergency authorisation for the drug in the US as soon as possible, the company said in a statement.

An interim analysis of a Phase-3 study, based on 775 trial participants, found that 7.3 per cent of patients treated with molnupiravir were hospitalised within 29 days. Of the patients who received a placebo, 14.1 per cent were hospitalised or died by day 29. No deaths were reported in patients who were given molnupiravir within the 29-day period, while eight deaths were reported in placebo-treated patients.

The drug's efficacy was not affected by the timing of symptom onset or underlying risk factors. In addition, based on the participants with available viral sequencing data (approximately 40 per cent of participants), molnupiravir demonstrated consistent efficacy across viral variants Gamma, Delta, and Mu.

Moreover, adverse events were comparable in the molnupiravir and placebo groups, with around 10 per cent reporting adverse events. The Phase 3 trial was conducted at more than 170 sites, in countries including the US, Brazil, Italy, Japan, South Africa, Taiwan, and Guatemala.

Molnupiravir has also been shown to be active in several preclinical models of SARS-CoV-2, including for prophylaxis, treatment, and prevention of transmission. If authorised by regulatory bodies, molnupiravir could be the first oral antiviral medicine for Covid. Merck has already begun producing molnupiravir. The pharmaceutical giant expects to produce 10 million courses of treatment by the end of 2021, and more doses in 2022.


(With Agency Inputs)

Posted By: Talibuddin Khan