EFE Agency

Geneva, October 12, 2021Updated on 10/12/2021 08:37 am

The World Health Organization (WHO) said today that it is studying efficacy data for molnupiravir, an oral pill treatment for COVID-19 developed by the German pharmaceutical Merck, although it anticipated that “it could be a new weapon in the fight against the pandemic.”

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“It is an interesting progress, although we have yet to see the full data”WHO spokesman Christian Lindmeier said at a press conference after learning that Merck has petitioned US regulators for approval of its emergency use.

These pills could be the first oral treatment for COVID-19 (therefore easier to use than other intravenous) and one of the first designed for mild cases of the disease, those that do not initially require hospitalization.

Lindmeier stressed that vaccines and drugs against COVID-19 are not the only current weapon against coronavirus and he recalled that so are the use of a mask and physical distancing, especially for people who still do not have access to pharmaceutical products.

Following application for approval to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Merck It said in a statement that it will file similar requests in other countries in the coming months.

Earlier this month the drugmaker announced that its interim tests showed that the molnupiravir reduced the risk of hospitalization or death among patients by about 50%.

Doctors Without Borders (MSF) has pointed out that the new drug could be a breakthrough especially in developing countries where vaccination is still low, but requested that Merck and other firms ensure that this type of treatment is available at an affordable price throughout the world.

MSF calculated that the five-day treatment with molnupiravir at market prices it can cost about $ 700, although if it were developed with alternative generics, which for example are already manufactured in India, it could drop to $ 20.

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