Experts said that a drug, in the form of tablets, developed by the American company “Merck” for the pharmaceutical industry, represents a breakthrough in the treatment of the Corona virus.
According to experts, the new drug has the ability to halve the chances of death or the need for hospitalization for people most at risk of developing severe symptoms of Covid-19.
If approved, melnopiravir tablets, which are designed to implant errors in the virus’s genetic code, will be the first oral antiviral drug to treat COVID-19.
Merck and its partner Ridgeback Biotherapeutics plan to obtain an emergency use authorization in the United States as soon as possible and file applications with drug regulators around the world.
Robert Davis, Merck’s CEO, said this treatment would fundamentally change the way COVID-19 is controlled.
Among the current treatment options are the antiviral remdesivir produced by Gilead and dexamethasone, which is a steroid, but these are not given until the patient is already in hospital.
“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 percent at the start of trading in New York, and a third-phase experiment was halted on the recommendation of external observers.
Shares of Pfizer fell by 3 percent and Moderna by 10 percent, two companies that manufacture 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 fearful of Covid and less inclined to get vaccines in the event of a pandemic.” A simple pill can cure the disease.”