The US authorities have ordered the first large batch of pills from COVID-19
Pharmaceutical company Merck has completed the third stage of testing of a new drug for the treatment of coronavirus and is preparing to obtain permission for its use. The US government has decided to act ahead of the curve and has already ordered a batch of 1.7 million full courses of pills. The medicine was named “molnupiravir” (molnupiravir).
Molnupiravir was developed a few years before the coronavirus pandemic as a universal remedy against RNA viruses – primarily to counter influenza. At the end of 2019, the drug was ready for clinical trials, but the appearance of SARS-CoV-2 forced scientists to rework the drug. The new version was received by May 2020, and Merck made a lot of efforts to launch the second phase of testing by October, which took place in 20 countries.
A year later, in August 2021, an independent commission decided to stop testing due to achieving complete success. It has been proven that taking molnupiravir tablets during the first five days after the onset of COVID-19 symptoms reduces the risk of severe disease by 50%. More importantly, not a single fatal case has been recorded, and the form of the drug itself, pills instead of injections, is favorably perceived by most patients.
The principle of action of molnupiravir is based on interfering with the mechanism of replication of the virus genes, which significantly complicates its reproduction and gives the immune system a chance to cope with the infection. The authors of the development admit that there is a risk of negative effects on the cells of the body itself, but no side effects have been identified during the studies. It is planned that a five-day course of molnupiravir will cost $ 700, but Merck promises to develop a cheaper analogue for poor countries.