- Merck will seek U.S. approval for pill as soon as possible
- If approved, would be 1st oral antiviral COVID-19 drug
- Merck shares rally, some vaccine makers fall
- U.S. government to buy 1.7 mln courses at $700 each
Oct 1 (Reuters) – An experimental antiviral pill developed by Merck & Co (MRK.N) could halve the chances of dying or being hospitalized for those most at risk of contracting severe COVID-19, according to data that experts hailed as a potential breakthrough in how the virus is treated.
If it gets authorization, molnupiravir, which is designed to introduce errors into the genetic code of the virus, would be the first oral antiviral medication for COVID-19.
Merck and partner Ridgeback Biotherapeutics said they plan to seek U.S. emergency use authorization for the pill as soon as possible and to make regulatory applications worldwide.
“An oral antiviral that can impact hospitalization risk to such a degree would be game-changing,” said Amesh Adalja, senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security.
Current treatment options include Gilead Sciences Inc’s (GILD.O) infused antiviral remdesivir and generic steroid dexamethasone, both of which are generally only given once a patient has already been hospitalized.
“This is going to change the dialogue around how to manage COVID-19,” Merck Chief Executive Robert Davis told Reuters.
Existing treatments are “cumbersome and logistically challenging to administer. A simple oral pill would be the opposite of that,” Adalja added.
The results from the Phase III trial, which sent Merck shares up more than 9%, were so strong that the study is being stopped early at the recommendation of outside monitors.
Shares of Atea Pharmaceuticals Inc (AVIR.O), which is developing a similar COVID-19 treatment, were up more than 21% on the news.
Jefferies analyst Michael Yee said investors believe “people will be less afraid of COVID and less inclined to get vaccines if there is a simple pill that can treat COVID.”
Pfizer and Swiss drugmaker Roche Holding AG (ROG.S) are also racing to develop an easy-to-administer antiviral pill for COVID-19. For now, only antibody cocktails that have to be given intravenously are approved for non-hospitalized patients.
When liquid meets gas, a unique zone forms. Variable by nature, molecules can cross from one state to another, combining in unique ways to either desirable or unwanted ends. From heat escaping a mug [...]
A newly detected coronavirus variant is on the rise in England, with the virus believed to be an offshoot of Delta. According to a briefing from the UK Health Security Agency, released on Friday, [...]
A team of researchers has developed a new nanomechanical technique for fast, one-step, immune-affinity tests, which can quantify the immune response induced by different COVID-19 variants in serum. Their technique provides a new tool [...]
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) scientists have developed a new method for 3D printing living microbes in controlled patterns, expanding the potential for using engineered bacteria to recover rare-earth metals, clean wastewater, detect uranium, [...]
Nanomedicines may offer clinicians a way to deliver precise, targeted therapy directly to tumors without damaging surrounding tissue. Yet, progress in the development of new drugs that treat cancer at the nanoparticle level has [...]
Cambridge researchers have discovered how T cells—an important component of our immune system—are able keep on killing as they hunt down and kill cancer cells, repeatedly reloading their toxic weapons. Cytotoxic T [...]
Sunday, October 3, set records for the most COVID-19 deaths in Russia on a single day. Only 29% of people in Russia are vaccinated, despite the country being the first to approve a vaccine. [...]
New research from the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) has found that pathogens that form biofilms can evolve to survive nanosilver treatment. The study is the first to demonstrate that long-term nanosilver treatment can [...]
New variants of SARS-CoV-2 are more virulent and transmissible than the original variant of the virus. Health experts associate these variants of concern (VOCs) with increased risk of hospitalization, intensive care unit (ICU) admission, [...]
Freeze-dried genetic circuits could reveal the presence of SARS-CoV-2, Ebola, MRSA, and more. Masks and testing have been key to the COVID-19 pandemic response—and now devices that combine the two may be on the [...]
Hundreds of neuroscientists built a ‘parts list’ of the motor cortex, laying groundwork to map the whole brain and better understand brain diseases. Before you read any further, bring your hand to your forehead. [...]
An international team, led by Swinburne University of Technology and Australian National University (ANU), have made a breakthrough discovery that could potentially lead to faster, more accurate molecular or virus tests, including for COVID-19. [...]
New mutations of COVID-19, such as the Delta strain, are "getting better" at transmitting through the air, a study has found. People infected with a later variant of COVID-19 put 43 to 100 times more virus into [...]
Merck will seek U.S. approval for pill as soon as possible If approved, would be 1st oral antiviral COVID-19 drug Merck shares rally, some vaccine makers fall U.S. government to buy 1.7 mln courses [...]
An antiviral surface coating technology sprayed on face masks could provide an extra layer of protection against COVID-19 and the flu. The coating developed at The University of Queensland has already proven effective in killing [...]
Key Points Monash researchers have developed a method to prepare elongated nanocrystals to deliver therapeutic drugs Elongated nanocrystals can carry a high payload of drugs to potentially increase drug targetability and also decrease dosage [...]