1/10/2021–|Last update: 10/1/202109:20 PM (Mecca)
The American drug company, Merck, said that its experimental tablets to treat infection with the Corona virus have cut hospital admissions and deaths in half.
The company explained that the early results of tests conducted on the drug called “Molnupiravir” showed that patients who received it within 5 days of the onset of symptoms of corona, among them deaths and hospital admissions, decreased, compared to others who received a placebo.
The company confirmed that it will soon apply to the health authorities in the United States, to obtain a license to use the drug.
It is noteworthy that the results announced by the company have not been reviewed by external experts, a procedure followed with new medical research.
If approved for use, these tablets designed to implant errors in the genetic code of the virus, it will be the first drug of its kind to be taken orally and used to treat infection with the Covid-19 virus, since the beginning of the pandemic.
Among the current treatment options are the antiviral remdesivir, produced by Gilead, and dexamethasone, which is a steroid, but they are not given until the patient has already been admitted to the hospital.
Did it change the rules of the game?
“It’s going to be a game-changer because oral antivirals can affect the risk of hospitalization that much,” said Amesh Adalja, a senior researcher at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security.
Adalja added that current treatments are “cumbersome and logistically difficult. A simple oral tablet would be the opposite.”
Because of the positive results, Merck shares rose more than 9% in early trading in New York, and a third-phase experiment was halted on the recommendation of external observers.
Shares of Pfizer fell 3%, and Moderna fell 10%, which are two manufacturers of Covid-19 vaccines, which Michael Yee, a biotechnology analyst at Jefferies, commented on, saying that it indicates the belief of investors that “people will become less afraid of Covid and less inclined to get vaccines. In the case of a simple pill that can cure the disease.”