Merck says “COVID pill” can decrease risk of death by 50%

merck covid pill, molnupiravir
Molnupiravir pills, aka "COVID pills"

Pharmaceutical company, Merck, have a “COVID pill” at Phase 3 of clinical trials – which seems to decrease risk of death by 50%

The COVID pill, molnupiravir, appears to be capable of halving risks of hospitalisation or death from the virus , according to data released by Merck. It has yet to be peer-reviewed, but the initial signs of how this vaccine works appear to be promising.

Scientists have previously investigated breathable vaccines, which are created from llama antibodies. 

Robert M Davis, chief executive officer and president, Merck, said: “More tools and treatments are urgently needed to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, which has become a leading cause of death and continues to profoundly affect patients, families, and societies and strain health care systems all around the world.”

50% likelihood of survival via molnupiravir?

Phase Three of the clinical trial was conducted on adult patients with mild to severe COVID.

An analysis of 775 patients found that 7.3% of those given molnupiravir were hospitalised or died, 29 days after treatment – in comparison to 14.1% of placebo patients. Eight placebo patients also died.

The pill was taken every 12 hours for five days, with an international pool of participants.

How could a COVID pill change vaccination?

Right now, there are several countries without adequate cold supply chains to transport traditional COVID vaccines. Some of those countries also can’t afford to buy any vaccines, or are prevented from making their own. While retail prices for a final product of molnupiravir are currently unknown, the pill would be largely more theoretically accessible than an injection.

“With the virus continuing to circulate widely, and because therapeutic options currently available are infused and/or require access to a healthcare facility, antiviral treatments that can be taken at home to keep people with COVID-19 out of the hospital are critically needed,” said Wendy Holman, chief executive officer of Ridgeback Biotherapeutics.

Those with a fear of needles, those in rural areas, and people who are housebound would be able to get vaccinated without close contact or trained specialists.


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