First in the world, the UK approves Merck’s COVID-19 pill

London: The UK on Thursday became the first country in the world to approve a potentially changing antiviral pill COVID-19 jointly developed by Merck and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics, to step up the fight against the pandemic.

The Regulatory Agency for Medicines and Health Products has recommended that the drug, molnupiravir, be used as soon as possible after a positive test for COVID-19 and within five days of the onset of symptoms.

In a trial, molnupiravir halved the risk of hospitalizations and death from coronavirus among at-risk people who took it in the first days of infection.

In a trial, molnupiravir halved the risk of hospitalizations and death from coronavirus among at-risk people who took it in the first days of infection.Credit:Merck

This is the first oral antiviral therapy for COVID-19 approved, with the green light ahead of the possible U.S. regulatory permit. U.S. councilors will meet this month to vote on whether molnupiravir should be authorized.

Loading

The drug, labeled Lagevrio in the UK, has been closely watched since data last month showed it could halve the chances of dying or being hospitalized for those most at risk of developing severe COVID-19 when given early in the disease.

The British government and the country’s National Health Service will confirm how the treatment will be deployed to patients in a timely manner.

Last month, the UK agreed to an agreement with Merck to secure 480,000 courses of molnupiravir.

In a separate statement, Merck said it expects to produce 10 million courses of the cure by the end of this year, with at least 20 million manufactured in 2022.

Shares of the U.S. drug maker grew 2.1 percent to $ 90.54 before the market opened.

Leave a Comment