ANKARA – An oral antiviral treatment drug has reduced the risk of hospitalization or death by about 50 percent in coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) patients, Merck and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics announced on Friday.
The companies said their Phase 3 trials, which included 775 patients, yielded “compelling results.”
They said 7.3 percent of patients who received their drug named Molnupiravir were hospitalized within 29 days, compared to 14.1 percent of placebo-treated patients.
No deaths were reported through day 29 in patients who received Molnupiravir, as compared to eight deaths in patients who received the placebo, they added.
“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,” the US pharmaceutical company Merck and American biotechnology firm Ridgeback said in a joint statement.
Merck said it would submit an application to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) as soon as possible based on its findings, and it also plans to submit marketing applications to other regulatory bodies worldwide.
If approved, Merck said it expects to produce 10 million treatment courses by the end of 2021 and more doses in 2022.
In June, Merck agreed with the US government to provide 1.7 million courses of Molnupiravir upon the issuance of an EUA or FDA approval.
The pandemic has claimed more than 4.7 million lives in at least 192 countries and regions since December 2019, with almost 233.8 million cases reported, according to the latest data from the US-based Johns Hopkins University. Vaccine doses administered totaled more than 6.24 billion, it showed. (Anadolu)