Merck applies for an emergency use permit for the treatment of COVID-19 in the US

On October 11, the US pharmaceutical company Merck & Co Inc announced that it had applied for an emergency use license for a drug developed by the company to treat mild and moderate COVID-19 disease.

Antiviral drug Molnupiravir of Merck & Co pharmaceutical company (USA). Photo: AFP
Antiviral drug Molnupiravir of Merck & Co pharmaceutical company (USA). Photo: AFP

The drug molnupiravir to treat COVID-19 was jointly developed by Merck and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics. If approved by US authorities, this will be the first drug to treat COVID-19 to be licensed.

New data released last week showed that the drug molnupiravir was effective in preventing 50% of the risk of death or hospitalization in the group most at risk of severe illness if they contract COVID-19.

The drugs used in the treatment of COVID-19 currently include remdesivir and dexamethasone from Gilead Sciences Inc. are only used when the patient is hospitalized. The use of monoclonal antibody drugs is still limited because it is difficult to enter the patient's body.

Earlier this year, Merck announced it had signed non-exclusive, voluntary delivery agreements of the drug with five Indian manufacturers to increase supply to over 100 low- and middle-income countries after approval. The companies will jointly collaborate, fund, oversee and monitor the clinical trial in India.

Unlike formal approval, emergency approval allows manufacturers to distribute pharmaceutical products during a public health emergency, based on evidence of best-practice at the time.

Google Tech News

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