Pill against covid: Gates Foundation invests 670 million reais in molnupiravir

On Tuesday (19), the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation announced an investment of up to US$ 120 million — about 670.4 million reais — to help low-income countries obtain the drug molnupiravir against covid-19. The antiviral potential was developed by the US drugmaker MSD, also known as Merck.

“Low-income countries have had to wait for everything from personal protective equipment to vaccines. This is unacceptable,” foundation co-chair Melinda French Gates said in a statement. So far, only 2.8% of people in low-income countries have received at least one dose of some immunizing agent against covid-19, according to data from the Our World in Data platform.

“Today’s commitment will ensure that more people in more countries have access to the promising drug molnupiravir, but it’s not the end of the story — we need other donors, including foundations and governments, to act,” said Melinda on the collective responsibility of the covid pandemic. -19.

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Gates Foundation makes a million dollar investment so that the drug molnupiravir reaches poor countries (Image: Divulgação/Merck)

It is worth noting that, in global efforts against covid-19, the Gates Foundation has invested around US$1.9 billion — around 10.64 billion reais — in the fight against the pandemic since last year.

How will the Gates Foundation money be invested?

According to the statement, Gates Foundation money will be earmarked to support the development and manufacture of generic versions of the antiviral molnupiravir, if the drug receives regulatory approval from health agencies.

Currently, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) — the US agency — reviews documents and clinical trials to approve (or not) the formula. In parallel, research centers around the world are already moving towards the eventual production of the drug. In Brazil, the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation (Fiocruz) is in “advanced conversations” for the production of the formula.

According to the company’s studies, the antiviral acts in the body, hindering the replication of the coronavirus. In these cases, the infectious agent has greater difficulty in replicating, which reduces its concentration in the patient’s body and makes the possible infection lose strength. The recommended use of the medication is 5 days, as soon as the possibility of infection is discovered.

In addition, MSD researchers concluded that the antiviral reduced the risk of hospitalization and death by approximately 50% in a global Phase 3 clinical trial. If the formula receives FDA approval, this will be the first oral drug indicated for mild cases. and covid-19 moderates.

Source: Business Insider e Our World in Data

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