Merck says COVID-19 antiviral pill effective against variants

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Molanupiravir works by targeting an enzyme needed for the virus to make copies of itself and introduce errors into the virus’s genetic code. It lowers the patient’s viral load, shortens the duration of illness and alleviates severe symptoms.

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Molnupiravir, an experimental oral COVID-19 antiviral drug, could potentially be effective against all known types of coronavirus, according to its manufacturer, a pharmaceutical company called Merck.

Molanupiravir works by targeting an enzyme needed for the virus to make copies of itself and introduce errors into the virus’s genetic code. It lowers the patient’s viral load, shortens the duration of illness and alleviates severe symptoms.

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According to Timothy Sheehan, a virologist at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, who helped pioneer these treatments, “Oral antivirals have the potential to not only shorten the duration of someone’s COVID-19 syndrome, but to reduce transmission.” There is also the ability to limit. If you are sick, the people in your family.”

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The drug may be equally effective as the virus continues to evolve and different strains develop.

Molnupiravir will be used after diagnosis and thus is not a substitute for vaccination, but it can help reduce transmission.

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Last week at the annual meeting of infectious disease organizations, Merck presented an analysis of its findings on mollupiravir.

In a trial earlier this year, the company enrolled non-hospitalized, COVID-19 patients who had symptoms for more than five days, and were at risk of complications from COVID-19. When treated with molanupiravir, no patients tested positive after five days, compared to 24% of placebo patients.

The drug is currently in Phase III trials, and Merck expects to complete Phase III in early November.

Pfizer is working on its own oral antivirals, as is Roche and Aetia Pharmaceuticals.


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