Merck says experimental pill cuts worst effects of COVID-19, Does Russia Have a Better One Withheld from the US?

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Editor’s note: VT wonders how it compares with Avifavir, the Russian drug that may well be similar…but banned in the US because of politics…

This drug has been deliverable for many months.


From Associated Press…

WASHINGTON (AP) — Drugmaker Merck said Friday that its experimental COVID-19 pill reduced hospitalizations and deaths by half in people recently infected with the coronavirus and that it would soon ask health officials in the U.S. and around the world to authorize its use.



If cleared, the drug would be the first pill shown to treat COVID-19, a potentially major advance in efforts to fight the pandemic. All COVID-19 therapies now authorized in the U.S. require an IV or injection.

Merck and its partner Ridgeback Biotherapeutics said early results showed patients who received the drug, called molnupiravir, within five days of COVID-19 symptoms had about half the rate of hospitalization and death as patients who received a dummy pill. The study tracked 775 adults with mild-to-moderate COVID-19 who were considered at higher risk for severe disease due to health problems such as obesity, diabetes, or heart disease.

Among patients taking molnupiravir, 7.3% were either hospitalized or died at the end of 30 days, compared with 14.1% of those getting the dummy pill. There were no deaths in the drug group after that time period compared with eight deaths in the placebo group, according to Merck. The results were released by the company and have not been peer-reviewed. Merck said it plans to present them at a future medical meeting

An independent group of medical experts monitoring the trial recommended stopping it early because the interim results were so strong. Company executives said they are in discussions with the Food and Drug Administration and plan to submit the data for review in the coming days.

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