Tue 12 October 2021:
A WHO spokesman said on Tuesday that the World Health Organization is awaiting comprehensive clinical data on Merck & Co Inc’s antiviral pill for treating mild-to-moderate COVID-19 patients, a day after the firm announced it has requested for emergency use authorisation in the United States.
WHO spokesperson Christian Lindmeier, asked at a UN briefing in Geneva about the drug, said: “Indeed, this is an interesting development. We would have to see the full data about it. If it holds true, then it is another weapon in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.”
According to data presented this month, the treatment, molnupiravir, reduced the probability of hospitalization and mortality by half in a trial of mild-to-moderately ill patients with at least one risk factor for the disease.
Former US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) chief Scott Gottlieb, MD, told CNBC the drug was “a profound game-changer.” Top infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci, MD, called the early data “impressive.”
Melissa Moody, a Merck spokesperson, told Medscape Medical News by email that “We fully expect that having an oral treatment that reduces the risk of hospitalizations will be significantly cost effective for society. We are optimistic that molnupiravir can become an important medicine as part of the global effort to fight the pandemic.”
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