today’s events – The US drug company, Merck & Co., said Friday that its experimental Covid-19 pills have halved the rate of hospitalizations and deaths in people newly infected with the Corona virus, and that it will soon ask health officials in the United States and around the world to authorize their use.
If approved, Merck will be the first ever COVID-19 pill to appear, a potential major advance in efforts to combat the pandemic. All COVID-19 treatments now authorized in the United States require intravenous administration or injection.
Merck and its partner, Ridgeback Bio, said early results showed that patients who received the drug, called molnopiravir, within five days of developing symptoms of Covid-19, had about half the rate of hospitalization and death compared to patients who received a dummy pill.
The study followed 775 adults with mild to moderate symptoms of COVID-19 who were considered to be at higher risk of developing serious illness due to health problems such as obesity, diabetes or heart disease.
Of the patients who took molnopiravir, 7.3 percent were hospitalized or died at the end of 30 days, compared to 14.1 percent of those who took the placebo. There were no deaths in the group that received the drug after that time period, compared to eight deaths in the placebo group, according to Merck.
The results released by the company have not been reviewed by other researchers. Merck said it plans to present the results 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. dad